Armorer: Filippo Negroli (Italian, Milan ca. 1510–1579)

Date: dated 1543

Geography: Milan

Culture: Italian, Milan

Medium: Steel, gold, textile

Dimensions: H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm); W. 7 5/16 in. (18.6 cm); D. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm); Wt. 4 lb. 2 oz. (1871 g)

Classification: Helmets

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.1720


This masterpiece of Renaissance metalwork is signed on the browplate by Filippo Negroli, whose embossed armor was praised by sixteenth-century chroniclers as "miraculous" and deserving "immortal merit." Made from one plate of steel patinated to look like bronze, the bowl is raised in high relief with motifs inspired by classical art. The graceful mermaid forming the helmet's comb holds the grimacing head of Medusa by the hair. The sides of the helmet are covered with acanthus scrolls inhabited by putti, a motif probably derived from the Roman wall frescoes rediscovered in the Golden House of Nero.