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Armures des princes d’Europe


The knights of the Renaissance further resembled roaming jewelleries than gladiators. That is the feeling we end up with after looking at the catalogue of the exhibition on the Armures des princes d’Europe currently held at the musée de l’Armée at the Invalides monument. Obviously, it is an advantage if one knows the technical vocabulary and can distinguish an ancient round shield for foot soldiers from a corselet, the back of armor from the helmet used in the Burgundy. But even without this specific vocabulary, one is stunned by the decorative wealth of these armors, full of precious materials and wise arabesques. The crown and the morion of Charles IX are made in solid gold and bear dozens of small medals in cloisonné enamel. The half-armor of D.G.V. Lochorst seems to be the work of a talented goldsmith hit by horror vacui. Similar to Napoleon’s guards who impressed everyone with their bear bonnets, the armors from the Renaissance, mannerist works of art from workshops in Milano, Antwerp or Paris, had to impress with their magnificence as well as with their resistance to blows from swords: they were often used more for parades and ceremonies than for battle …

Armures des princes d’Europe, Nicolas Chaudun publishing house, 2011, 382 p., 55 €.

Armures des princes d’Europe - Collective

Review published in the newsletter #211 - from 7 April 2011 to 13 April 2011

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