Pair of armor, Venice, late 19th century


Pair of parade armor in the Neo-Renaissance style, from the end of the 19th century. All surfaces are engraved with leafy and phytomorphic motifs; twisted edges. Rounded tile helmet with ribbed fan in the middle and six trapezoidal holes for sight. Schooner made up of two blades, one of which is circular and one is V-shaped. Ribbed chest in the middle with central decoration depicting a rampant lion accompanied by a tower. Shoulder straps with five blades that join the bracelets, cubitiere, anti-arm cannon.

Knobs composed of five blades; splayed sleeves. A panziera blade in which six blades are inserted for the sides, joined in the central space with an iron mesh. Leg loops, three-blade knee pads and closed leggings, ribbed in the middle. Shoes with seven blades, of which the last one elongates in a conical shape curved downwards. Shield with a twisted edge, also engraved with phytomorphic motifs and a rampant lion with a crown holding a tower in the center.

Dimensions: 200 x 75 x 44 cm; with pedestal 39 cm ( 78,7 x 29,5 x 17,3 in; with pedestal 15,35 )


Historical-critical analysis:

The pair of armor was made at the end of the nineteenth century, in a historical context of revival of the forms in vogue in previous centuries, in particular by taking up the characteristics of the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The latter was the one appreciated above all in post-unification Italy, as an artistic expression representative of national identity. Various examples in this sense, also dictated by the appreciation for the military world, consist of the formations of collections of weapons and armor, reassembled in the so-called armories, often set up to recreate a setting that recalled past centuries.

Among the main ones we must certainly remember the collections of the Milanese Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli and Frederick Stibbert in Florence, still visible today in the museums of the same name and consisting of original armor and weapons. Alongside these collections, a production of objects in style developed, used only as furniture or for display purposes, now devoid of their original function. These productions are active throughout Europe, and the subject of Universal exhibitions, a place of comparison and exchange for the various national productions, we report an example of a historical photo of a catalog with two armors of the Pigeon company in Paris from the early 1900s.

Heraldic coat of arms of the Castiglioni family Milan
Pair of armor, Venice
Castiglioni Family of Milan, heraldic coat of arms on the shield

Similar armours are also made in Venice and other areas of Italy; the two shown are presumably of Italian production, as the heraldic coat of arms depicted is attributable to that of the Castiglioni family of Milan, a crowned rampant lion holding a 2-towered castle.

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