European Helmets, 1450-1650

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Treasures from the Reserve Collection

Stuart W. Pyhrr

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Helmets, the earliest known form of body armor, remain an essential element of protection for the modern soldier and firefighter as well as the sportsman. In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European helmet design reached its apogee, with armorers creating headpieces in steel of ingenious construction and powerful sculptural form. Whether intended for aristocratic mounted knights or humble infantrymen, helmets had to provide maximum defense for the most vital, and vulnerable, part of the body while offering reasonable comfort of wear with adequate sight and ventilation. The forging of a helmet was thus the armorer's greatest challenge and, very often, his finest achievement, balancing the practical function of defense with the aesthetics of line and mass. Utilizing the Metropolitan Museum's outstanding collection of arms and armor—in this case, items from the reserve collection that have long been out of public view—this exhibition and catalogue explore the evolution, technology, form, and fashion of European head defense over two centuries, from 1450 to 1650. [This book was originally published in 2000 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]

ISBN: 9780300094602
Publication Date: September 10, 2003
48 pages, 8.5 x 11
112 illus.
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