At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximilian I

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At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximilian I

Post by Tom B. »

Link to the Met announcement The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I
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Running from October 7, 2019 to January 5, 2020
Exhibition Overview wrote:The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I will examine the profound significance of European armor at the dawn of the Renaissance, through the lens of Emperor Maximilian I's (1459–1519) remarkable life. On view only at The Met, The Last Knight will coincide with the five hundredth anniversary of Maximilian's death, and is the most ambitious North American loan exhibition of European arms and armor in decades. Including more than 180 objects selected from some thirty public and private collections in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, The Last Knight will explore how Maximilian's unparalleled passion for the trappings and ideals of knighthood served his boundless worldly ambitions, imaginative stratagems, and resolute efforts to forge a lasting personal and family legacy.

This exhibition will feature many works of art on view outside Europe for the first time, including Maximilian's own sumptuous armors that highlight his patronage of the greatest European armorers of his age, as well as related manuscripts, paintings, sculpture, glass, tapestry, and toys, all of which emphasize the emperor's dynastic ambitions and the centrality of chivalry at the imperial court and beyond.
Preorder the catalog from Amazon here
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

After I get past summer, I need to figure out how to get to the Met in October!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by woodwose »

I guess its almost time for me to go to New York again
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

Who should I drop a line to if I can shake free the time (and cash) to come out for this? There are a fair number of folks that would make this better (for me) since they have a better "eye" for things than I do...

And I'm pretty sure that Tom will take WAAAAY better photos than i ever will.

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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by James Arlen Gillaspie »

I go down to the Met fairly often.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

I'll touch base before I make any concrete plans then - it would be good to have another (better trained) set of eyes along!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Sean M »

NYC is in the wrong part of the world for me, but there are two exhibits at Schloss Ambras and one at the Zeughaus. I will post if they have any armour-related goodness.

The Met often publishes good catalogues.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

Hi Sean

I'll eventually get to the Zeughaus - there are some really nice pieces by Michael Witz the younger there!

Trying to get an armour pilgrimage from the northwest out to the exhibit, hopefully with a bit more success than the hammer-in. I'll also put a shout out to Tom, Chris Wade and Mac who were at the hammer-in, it would be great to catch up since you're a lot closer to NY than you are to me!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Sean M »

The Zeughaus usually has an eagle, I didn't know there was armour in the special exhibit. Most of that it in Schloss Ambras. There used to be one gothic armour in the Goldenes Dachl.

I like the idea of a meetup for armour fans at the Met, this exhibit is only three months long.
DIS MANIBUS GUILLELMI GENTIS MCLEANUM FAMILIARITER GALLERON DICTI
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

I'm trying to drag Illka (AKA Sir Geoffrey de Rennes) to the exhibit - I tried (and failed) to get him to the Texas hammer-in (which he has regretted ever since) so I'm hoping that if we can get enough folks interested in we will have a whole bunch of interesting perspectives, since (in my experience) armourers tend to do things differently (and see different things) which are "obvious" to them and illuminating to others.

Thanks to Tom, Chris, Mac, Ugo, Patrick, Wade, Mike and a pile of others that I can't recall right this second for a crash course in a zillion things at the hammer-in. I'd make a "pilgrimage" just to see James and it would be awesome to see what Tom has come up with in the years since I saw him last!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

Man, right in the middle of my busy season, my season got busier. I need to dig up some traveling companions if I can pull this off.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

I appear to have chosen an unfortunate time to become unemployed (got laid off coming back from Vacation) - looks like I will need to visit this in Europe :(
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Tom B. »

Scott Martin wrote:I appear to have chosen an unfortunate time to become unemployed (got laid off coming back from Vacation) - looks like I will need to visit this in Europe :(
I am very sorry to hear this Scott. I am sorry to be the bearer of even more bad news.

Unfortunately you will not be able to see this after it closes at the Met.
This is truly a once in a lifetime event. The Met staff lead by Pierre Terjanian has worked for at least 3 years with what has to be a several million dollar budget to get these pieces together in one place. They have 180 objects on loan from many different museums from around the world and from private collections.
Having these objects all together in one place is not the only thing that sets this apart but also how they are displayed.
Most if not all of the objects are displayed in a much more accessible manner than in their home institutions, most are displayed with close to 360 degree viewing.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

Well Tom, I have high hopes that you will take a large pile of fine photographs for us to peruse :)

This has not been my best fall... but things are looking up.

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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

I made it! There was a "Christmas Season" bus trip run by our local (60 miles south of DC) Parks and Recreation group, and I and four friends took it at $90 each. Instead of Christmas shopping and gawking at tall buildings, we hied off to the Met and spent about four of our seven hours time-on-target gawking at the exhibit. We left at 05:30 Saturday and returned home at 01:00 Sunday.

I'll post some pictures (if they are any good) when I get them downloaded.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

As I said, things are getting better :)

Thanks Cap'n, much appreciated!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

Okay; plese remember that these are specialized "snapshots" and in low light without a flash. My friends got some nice shots of the armors, but I figure I can't beat the catalogs, so I concentrated on a few tools and other items of interest. If you p.m. me, I can send the full-size (but still blurry) pictures to your e-mail adress.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

Here are some more; a wrench to go with an armor for bolting it together:
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

Lastly, three lance points from seriously large, heavy lances:
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Galileo »

Those tools are really interesting!
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

Thanks Cap'n Atli, if you have any pictures of the backplates I'd be very interested in those. If you want to send me email, it's in my profile ;)

I got the cataloge from my wonderful wife for Christmas, and there are some very interesting photos, particularly of the harness that is the "twin" to the Sigusmund of Tyrol harness - interesting that there are steel pins and holes to adjust the breast and back 4-6" above the waist, and there is a very nice fit blending the breast and back showing the articulation of both (German harnesses have the backplate "waist" furthest "in" while milanese armour mirrors the breastplate, with the waist plate being the farthest "out")

I'm still working my way through the text, but I am definitely missing the exhibit - I hope to enjoy it vicariously through others!

the catalogue has the lance points that you photographed, along with some interesting text on the construction, noting the the points are off center so that they are more likely to glance instead of penetrating. That said they are massive - around 2 pounds each!

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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Tom B. »

Scott Martin wrote:Thanks Cap'n Atli, if you have any pictures of the backplates I'd be very interested in those. If you want to send me email, it's in my profile ;)

I got the cataloge from my wonderful wife for Christmas, and there are some very interesting photos, particularly of the harness that is the "twin" to the Sigusmund of Tyrol harness - interesting that there are steel pins and holes to adjust the breast and back 4-6" above the waist, and there is a very nice fit blending the breast and back...
Scott
The fastening system (for breast to back) you noticed on the A60 harness appears to be a normal Helmschmid thing. Check out this link below to see some detailed shots of the A62 harness which is similar but somewhat more complicated than what we currently see on A60.
Post in an old thread about A62
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by James Arlen Gillaspie »

Some links to a few photo albums of the show that I am currently adding to; yes, I do have a thing about stereo pictures. :roll:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/RNuvyFwRdsEd3MvA8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/SjEfmFi91z3eYw2u8
https://photos.app.goo.gl/WYHsqaXUpKC1ZqnK7
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Scott Martin »

Many thanks James and Tom - those photos show a number of the details that I was looking for that were not in the book. "Coffee table" books don't tend to have clear shots of the interface points (buckles, straps, catches and closures) which I am increasingly finding are key to getting armour to "work like the real thing".

I caught a glimpse of the breastplate closure for the A60 in the "Last Knight" book, and Tom has some very nice shots of the details on both sides. There is a similar closure on the bevor for the Rhodes sallet in the Glenbow, and that closure style seems to be fairly typical of functional armours from ~1410 to the early 17th century (where it starts to get replaced with various "wing nut" closures instead - IMO not an improvement). I'll have to go and visit the piece in the DIA - it's always nice to see the "no accessories" versions of fine armours, since it makes it easier to understand what they were actually doing - at least for me!

The "Slot and pivoting keyhole" also seems to be fairly typical of the gothic (and flemish) armours for fastening the demi-greave to the greave (a stud on one side, and then a turning "keyhole" lock on the other). Compare and contrast this to the Italian armours which tend to have a single pin in the middle of the greave, and lock everything together with the demigreave strap. It looks like the Helmschmidt armours use this type of system (on a different scale, with adjustability) for the breast and back.

It was also interesting that there was a harness that used the "old" Milanese hinge system (as used on the Avant armour) on the left side: does anyone know of an example of this closure system being used in the 16th or 17th century? To be more specific, this is a series of hinges on all of the plates of the breast and back (as well as the fauld and culet plates) on the left side, and straps and buckles on the right.

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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by James Arlen Gillaspie »

The surviving Helmschmid stuff, in its original state, had the poleyns held to the greaves with a single pin, like the Italian, with the little spring tabs like those often seen on later pauldron attachments. A62 is missing its pins and has had really nasty turn pins installed on each side, perhaps to interface with the poleyns on A 58, which are 16th century poleyns that have been grafted onto the Helmschmid cuisses in the 16th century, IIRC.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Cap'n Atli »

Still waiting for my friends to download their pictures, BUT...

One of the questions that came up among us was: "How do they keep the armor so d@mned shiny?" When I was working on museum storage facilities in the NPS we were pretty exacting about balancing humidity for various classifications of artifacts. Metal, leather, cloth and lithics each had their requirements. The other commandment was minimal contact with the artifacts. Outside of the conservation lab, you just didn't touch if you could avoid it, and "white cotton gloves" when you couldn't avoid it. I just can't see them polishing the stuff all the time without "loving it to death" like the old family silver that has been buffed to decorative obscurity. We speculated about oiling and wax (with wax the most practical, in the collective opinion) but I know how easily things rust and discolor, so what is the witchcraft that they use?

(In the old days the squire did it, and you didn't gave a hang about preservation. This stuff was made to be used!)
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Rene K. »

most museums and restaurators use a microcrystaline wax for conservating metal surfaces.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by Tom B. »

Looking at the high resolution photos we took there is a surprisingly scary amount of what appears to be active rust on the A60 harness.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by John Vernier »

The high polish of the Vienna pieces caught my eye too (as did the spots of fresh rust!). It reminded me that Laking commented that the armours at Vienna were generally "a trifle over-polished." I think somewhere he alluded more pointedly to modern caretakers being over-enthusiastic with the buffing wheels, though I can't find the reference. What I realized though, seeing these pieces in person for the first time, is that they certainly haven't been subjected to centuries of polishing the way so much armour has been. The fact that details of delicate surface like this remain crisp and unworn, including well defined gilding and blueing,
Image
really suggests careful preservation rather than a long history of cleaning. So yes, I'd like to know what their methods have been, going way back.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

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My impression is that many of the pieces in Vienna have has their surfaces "let down" a bit since the famous pictures in the mid 20th C. It seems like they used to have a very high polish, and now their finishes are more "mat", or almost "scratchy". It's almost like they gave up the metal polish for the scotchbrite pad. I'm not at all sure that I approve. :?

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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximili

Post by James Arlen Gillaspie »

The biggest problem the KMW collection has is that the Austrian museum administration does not think armour is art, and, as a result of two world wars on which Austria was on the losing side, does not care to dwell on the country's martial past, however long ago. The conservation department in the armour and arms department is severely undermanned. When I had my time with A 62, there was only ONE actual conservator to deal with all that stuff! His refrain was "one more year, and I retire!" every time I saw him.
The boiled linseed oil treatment is very effective, if maintained. I fear there may be issues. It has occurred to me that contacting the department about some sort of donation fund to the conservation arm of the collection would be a good thing to do, and might shame the powers that be into allocating more resources to the department.
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Re: At the Met: Last Knight:Art, Armor,&Ambition of Maximilian I

Post by Otto von Teich »

I missed the exibition, but found a used copy of the book on ebay for under 20 dollars delivered! Excellent reference material and very informative reading. https://www.ebay.com/itm/354362141111?e ... R56ay-3QYg This guy has 20 in stock, If anyone missed it now is a good time to buy.
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