Cuirass and Tassets (Torso and Hip Defense)

Armorer: Attributed to Kolman Helmschmid (German, Augsburg 1471–1532)

Decorator: Etching attributed to Daniel Hopfer (German, Kaufbeuren 1471–1536 Augsburg)

Date: ca. 1510–20

Geography: Augsburg

Culture: German, Augsburg

Medium: Steel, leather

Dimensions: H. 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm); Wt. 19 lb. 8 oz. (8845 g)

Classification: Armor

Credit Line: Gift of Marshall Field, 1938

Accession Number: 38.143b–d


The decoration of this armor is an outstanding example of German figural etching, inspired by contemporary print sources, as it was used to embellish armor. The etching has been attributed to Daniel Hopfer, a noted printmaker and armor etcher. Hopfer may have pioneered the technique of making prints from an etched metal plate, which revolutionized printmaking in the sixteenth century.
The figures on the breastplate depict major Christian saints and include the Virgin and Child flanked by Saint George and Saint Christopher. On the backplate, Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child is flanked by Saint James the Great and Saint Sebastian. The figure of Saint Sebastian pierced by arrows is copied from a woodcut made about 1507 by Hans Baldung Grien (1484 or 1485–1544).