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Half Armor

Artist Culture
Steel with gilding, modern leather, and fabric
Made in
Italy, Europe
Arms & armor
Current Location
On View, Gallery 126
26 1/2 x 27 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (67.3 x 69.9 x 31.1 cm)
weight: 28 lb. 12 oz. (13 kg)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
This half armor was made for sporting combat on foot "at the barriers," a friendly competition in which individuals or teams of armored contestants used swords and spear-like pikes to score points for hits delivered. The "barriers" was a waist-high fence that kept the fighters separated. Since the barriers protected the fighters below the waist, leg armor was unnecessary in these contests. The ceremonial and sporting aspects of the armor are accented by the overall decoration of gold crescents.
c.1600–1610 -
Strozzi family, Florence, Italy [1]

- 1923
Enrico Caruso, Italy (1873-1921)

1923 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased at auction, "The Enrico Caruso Art Treasures and Antiquities," American Art Galleries, New York, NY, March 5-8, 1923, lot no. 1035 [2]

The main source for this provenance is the auction catalogue, "The Rare and Beautiful Antique Art Treasures," American Art Association, New York, March 5-8, 1923. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] Notes on Strozzi family connection and verification of Strozzi family crest (suggested by the red wax seals found on the interior of the suit) provided by armor scholars Walter Karcheski Jr. and Lionello G. Boccia [SLAM document files].

[2] Purchased at "The Enrico Caruso Art Treasures and Antiquities," as a single lot that also included 231:1923, 232:1923, and 233:1923. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, April 6, 1923.
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