Armour for a nobleman

Workshop of Michael Witz the younger, Innsbruck, c. 1550

Michael Witz the Younger, a master armorer, made this exquisite suit for an unrecorded important client in Innsbruck in 1550. 

The craftsman decorated the armour with a black-and-white finish, with alternating bright, polished surfaces and darkened areas. In addition the armour has been embossed in part, a process whereby the metal was hammered and raised from within, producing a relief on the outside. Here Witz has created a utilitarian masterpiece. It is an imposing and dramatic protection for its owner and a highly accomplished expression of Renaissance decoration applied to metal that includes grotesque masks on shoulders, elbows, and knees as well as foliate decoration throughout.