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Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Name-CRT: French
Title: Costume Armor
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1780
Creation End Date: 1790
Creation Date: ca. 1780-90
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Classification Term: Textiles-Embroidered
Materials and Techniques: paper-mache
Dimensions: unmeasured
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1988.65.1,2
Credit Line: Funds from various donors, 1988

Wearing classical-style armor was popular during the Renaissance, when nobles sought to evoke through their costume the might and majesty of ancient Roman emperors and heroes. Greco-Roman style armor, sometimes of steel but more frequently of lightweight materials such as copper, papier-mâché, and textiles, continued to be worn in the Baroque age for tournaments, carousels, ballets, and other court pageants. This rare, perhaps unique, example dates from the end of this tradition: It originated in the Paris of Louis XVI. The helmet, based on a Greek Corinthian prototype, is fashioned of paper-mâché with gilt relief decoration against a contrasting blue-black graphite ground. Inside is pasted the Parisian retailer's trade label, identifying him as Hallé, dit Mercier, who supplied the French court with theatrical armor, costumes, and scenery. Hallé presumably also provided the tunic, which was modeled on an imperial Roman cuirass, with pendant straps ('pteruges') at the shoulders and skirt. The white wool bodice appears to be a contemporary replacement, the original embroidery having been reapplied to new backing, which nonetheless shows considerable use. The leonine mask, confronted griffons, and acanthus foliage on the breastplate are built up in relief and covered with a rich embroidery of gold thread and sequins.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1988.65.1,2
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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