Iron Men Fashion In Steel Exhibition at The Kunsthistorisches Museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna will be hosting a new exhibition, Iron Men Fashion in Steel, from March 29, 2022 – June 6, 2022. This exhibition will be dedicated to displaying rarely seen works from the Armoury which will be accompanied by other objects such as sculpture, textiles, and paintings to create a truly unique exhibition. The Iron Men Fashion in Steel exhibition will feature a special curation of some of the most spectacular armour from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth century. The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna has made sure to include masterpieces from the Imperial Armoury through selecting works from renowned museums all over the world such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden or the Wallace Collection in London.

The Affects of Armour: Beyond Physcial Defense

The original purpose of armour was functionality rather than fashion. It was invented to provide protection and preservation to its wearer, designed to withstand spear or pike thrusts and ideally be invulnerable to sword slashes. Though armour was a form of fighting equipment, it had a far greater impact on its wearer than mere physical protection. This physical safety oftentimes expanded to a sort of mental security for the wearer, imparting ideas on him such as increased self-esteem and confidence when going into battle.

“The basic form of an armour could give the wearer an enhanced muscularity – wider shoulders and a narrower waist, but it could also bestow qualities that were decidedly alien, again to impart a feeling that this being of iron and steel was possessed of special powers and abilities unavailable to ordinary human beings.”

“The Art of Renaissance Armour: Materials and Techniques: The Wallace Collection.”

Armour as Art

“Armour was a profoundly personal art-form for the Renaissance knights and noblemen who wore it. It not only protected them in combat, it also identified them, setting them apart from other men and broadcasting all sorts of complex visual messages about the wearer and his associations.”

“The Art of Renaissance Armour: Materials and Techniques: The Wallace Collection.”

Many tend to overlook armour as art and categorize armour as military history or technology. While armour undoubtedly falls within these two classifications as well, it is equally an art form. Not only is armour a special form of art, but it symbolizes a cultural and artistic pivotal aspect of the European Renaissance. The armour produced during this time is a rare collection of expressive and deeply powerful metal work.

This era of armour from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth century demanded new techniques and inventive ideas from the metalworks and artists of the time. The metal worker who created a suit of armour was building a breathable, moveable sculpture of steel. The steel material allowed for complex forms and designs which empowered the wearer and created a figure that was something “more than human” ( “The Art of Renaissance Armour: Materials and Techniques: The Wallace Collection.”).

Visit the Exhibition Today!

Do not miss out on the chance to witness some of the most magnificent pieces of armour, including the rarely seen works from the Imperial Armoury in Vienna and selected works from museums worldwide. In addition to highlighting pieces from the Imperial Armoury in Vienna, this exhibition will also showcase 170 objects – such as sculptures, textiles, and paintings – to shed new light on the topic of Renaissance armour and how these masterpieces transcend religious, ideological, and gender boundaries.

For more information: https://www.khm.at/besuchen/ausstellungen/iron-men/

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References

“Iron Men Fashion in Steel.” Kunsthistorisches Museum: Fashion in Steel, https://www.khm.at/en/visit/exhibitions/iron-men/.

“Plate Armour.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Feb. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_armour#:~:text=Effect%20on%20weapon%20development,-15th%2Dcentury%20depiction&text=Plate%20armour%20was%20virtually%20invulnerable,decent%20defense%20against%20blunt%20trauma.

“The Art of Renaissance Armour: Materials and Techniques: The Wallace Collection.” The Art of Renaissance Armour | Materials and Techniques | The Wallace Collection – The Wallace Collection, https://www.wallacecollection.org/art/collection/meet-the-expert/the-art-of-renaissance-armour-materials-and-techniques/.

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