This helmet is the earliest surviving example of Renaissance armor all'antica (in the antique style). The lion's head is an outer shell made of embossed and gilt copper that is fitted over an underlying plain steel helmet. It represents the head of the Nemean Lion, whose pelt was worn as a headdress and cloak by the mythological hero Hercules. He was frequently portrayed in Renaissance art as a symbol of indomitable strength, courage, and perseverance.
[Thomas Gwennap, London, 1816–33]; A. C. Lafontaine, England (until 1914; sold to Böhler); [Julius Böhler, Munich, 1914; sold to Germanisches Nationalmuseum]; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg (1914–22; sold to a private collector); private collection, Holland (1922–23; sold through Julius Goldshmidt to MMA).
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Laking, Guy Francis, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries. Vol. 2. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 12–14, 20, fig. 355.
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Dean, Bashford. "Notes: Additional Information on the Lion-Headed Helmet." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 19, no. 2 (February 1924). p. 50.
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Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. Handbook of Arms and Armor: European and Oriental, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930. p. 92, fig. 50.
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Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of European Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 9 (May 1956). p. 210, ill.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Thomas P. Campbell. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 161, ill.