Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Shield

Maker:
Attributed to Girolamo da Treviso (Italian, Treviso ca. 1498–1544 Boulogne-sur-Mer)
Date:
ca. 1535
Geography:
probably Bologna
Culture:
Italian, probably Bologna
Medium:
Wood, linen, gesso, gold leaf, polychromy
Dimensions:
Diam. 24 5/8 in. (62.53 cm)
Classification:
Shell
Credit Line:
Gift of Stephen V. Grancsay, 1942
Accession Number:
42.50.16
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 374
This is one of a small group of Renaissance pageant shields painted on both their interiors and exteriors with scenes from Roman history and Classical mythology in grisaille (tones of gray) on a ground of gold leaf. Many of the details are rendered in sgraffito (the technique or scratching through a surface to reveal a different color underneath, in this case, gold). The gold thus exposed is impressed with comma-shaped marks to heighten its light-reflecting quality. Girolamo da Treviso was one of the few sixteenth-century artists to employ the demanding sgraffito technique, which had gone out of fashion by the late fifteenth century.

The battle scenes on the inside of the shield, perhaps illustrating episodes from the life of the Roman general Scipio, show a keen observation of Classical costume and armor, both of which were known from antique sculpture and coins. The style of painting, the physical types, and the energetic poses are strongly indebted to Giulio Romano (about 1499–1546), who was Raphael's assistant and later was the court painter to the dukes of Mantua. Girolamo da Treviso worked with Giulio in Mantua in 1527.
Ex. coll.: J. P. Loutherbourg, Royal Armouries, London; Thomas Gwennapp, London; Sir Adam Hay; George Durlacher, London; S. J. Whawell; Clarence H. Mackay, Roslyn, New York.
"A Catalogue of a Magnificent and Unique Collection of Ancient Armour, and Implements of War, of Almost Every Nation...Magnificent Shields and Helmets...the Whole of which Will Be Sold By Auction...at Lang's Shooting Gallery, 7, Haymarket...." In Military Antiquities, &c. &c.. London: George Robins, 1833. lot no. 158 (this shield sold as part of collection owned by Thomas Gwennap, which had been shown at the Oplotheca, Gothic Hall and Royal Armoury exhibitions).

Laking, Guy Francis, Charles A. de Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. 4. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1921. vol. IV, pp. 237–238, fig. 1309 (described and ill.).

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 3 to September 27, 1931." In Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. no. 101 (ill.).

Blair, Claude. Arms, armour and base-metalwork : The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor. Fribourg, 1974. cat. no. 9, expecially pp. 46–48 (Blair traces early history of this shield in London Exhibitions, sales and private collections).

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor From the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 26, 64, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "A Renaissance Painted Shield Attributed to Girolamo da Treviso, Part II: An Attribution to Girolamo da Treviso." In Studies in European Arms and Armor: The C. Otto von Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1992. pp. 96–151. This shield discussed and illustrated, pp. 113–116.



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