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As part of a special Sunday at the Met program held in conjunction with the exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department, Donald J. La Rocca explains the founding and history of the department.
A zoologist by training, Bashfod Dean was for a time simultaneously a full professor at Columbia University, Curator of Fishes at the American Museum of Natural History, and Curator of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum. At the Met, he worked initially as a guest curator in 1904, when he was invited to install and catalog the Museum's first significant acquisitions of arms and armor. He continued on as honorary curator until joining the staff full time in 1912 as head of the newly created Arms and Armor Department, rapidly building the collection into one of international importance.
Dressing in Steel: Part One
(00:37:39) 683 views
Dressing in Steel: Part Two
(00:20:04) 274 views
A Visit to the Armor Galleries
(00:30:21) 4358 views
Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department, 1904–1929
(00:30:12) 226 views
The Art of Arms and Armor: Challenges of Research, Display, and Education
(00:33:09) 320 views
Curators, Collectors, and Dealers: The Growth of the Arms and Armor Collection, 1929 to the Present
(00:36:37) 207 views
Morion for the Bodyguard of the Prince-Elector of Saxony
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 371
The electors of Saxony appear to have been the only German princes in the sixteenth century to outfit their bodyguards with matching equipment. The guards' helmets are etched and gilt on one side with the coat of arms of the dukedom of Saxony and on the other side with the crossed swords that signify the duke's office as archmarshal of the Holy Roman Empire. Originally, the gilt decoration was contrasted with black painted surfaces (some now polished bright). The black and gold derived from the Saxon coat of arms and were also the colors of the guards' uniforms. This helmet and a similar one also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 14.25.633) were made by armorers in Nuremberg.
Marking: Marked on the front on the left side of the brim: I M.
Ex. coll.: Royal Armory, Dresden, Germany; Prince Peter Soltykoff, Paris, France; William H. Riggs.
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