The chemical method of decorating the armor, one might say, “untied the hands of the masters. After all, before they had to cut patterns on the metal with shtiheli, whereas now almost the same effect was achieved by drawing on the metal with a sharp bone stick, and some waiting time until the work of the shtiheli is performed by acid. Decorative even relatively cheap armor immediately increased dramatically, and their appearance approached the costly armor of the nobility.
Well, let’s start with these ceremonial armor of the work of the master Jerome Ringler, Augsburg, 1622. A couple of pistols signed by the master of IR also relied on them. As you can see, this is nothing but a set - armor for the rider and armor for the horse. They are decorated as follows - this is the chemical color of the metal in brown color, followed by gilding and drawing on a gold coating. Both the rider’s armor and the horse’s armor cover the so-called images of “trophies” made up of various types of weapons and armor, while the coat of arms is depicted in the medallion itself.
So these armors look, being put on on the rider and on a horse!
The name of the parts of the horse plate armor.
The peraille and shanfron are very clearly visible.
Well, these are guns for this armor. Without them, a headset would be incomplete!
At the beginning of the 16th century, very original methods began to be used to decorate German armor. For example, surface engraving on blue blued metal. At the same time, the blued surface was covered with wax and on it, like when engraving on copper, a pattern or drawing was scratched with the help of a sharp wooden stick. After this, the product was dipped into strong vinegar, and all the burnished things went away from the cleaned places. It was necessary to remove the wax primer, and on the armor a clearly visible light pattern on a blue background was obtained. It was possible to simply scrape it, without resorting to the acetic bath. They also worked on gold, that is, gilding applied to blued metal, which made it possible to obtain “gold drawings” on steel. This technique was used by masters of the 17th century.
Three pairs of pistols with wheel locks. Above and in the center: masters of WH, NZ, NK, Suhl., 1610 - 1615. Below, Germany - 1635. Master unknown. Actually, all the other masters are unknown. About armor, we know who was hiding behind some “nickname”, but pistol-guns - no!
Three more pairs. As you can see, something, and the rifle pistols of the German cavalry during the Thirty Years' War were enough ... Including the most luxurious ones!
The technology of working with gold mercury has been known for a long time. Therefore, another method of gilding was used, in essence representing the “tightness” of armor (plating) with gold foil. This technology consisted in the fact that the details of the armor were heated to a high temperature, and then gold foil was applied to their surface and ironed with a special steel polisher, which made the foil very firmly attached to the metal. In this way, armor from Augsburg and also in other places was decorated. It is clear that skill was required here, as in any other business, but the technology itself was, as you see, very simple.
Tournament armor of Elector Christian I of Saxony. The work of the master Anton Peffenhauser, Augsburg, 1582.
It is clear that such a noble gentleman, as Christians I of Saxony, simply does not have to have only one armored set. Well, to think about it, his high-ranking acquaintances and friends? Therefore, he had several armored sets! This is, for example, ceremonial armor, both for a man and for a horse (that is, a complete knightly set, which often weighed 50-60 kg, which the knight’s own armor itself took for weight!) all the same famous master Anton Paffenhauser from Augsburg, before 1591
Parade armor with chanfron and armored saddle from Augsburg 1594 - 1599
Blackening or niello was one of the ancient ways of finishing weapons, and this method was known to the ancient Egyptians. Benvenutto Cellini described it in detail in his treatises, so that the masters of the Middle Ages just had to use it. The essence of this method was to fill the patterns on the metal with black, consisting of a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and lead in the proportion 1: 2: 3. This alloy has a dark gray color and on a bright background of shiny metal looks very noble. This technique was widely used by the gunsmiths of the East, and from the East, it fell into Europe. It was used to finish the handles and scabbard of swords, but in the decoration of armor, as Vendalen Beheim writes, it was used relatively rarely. But again, only in Europe, while in the East they decorated with blacks both helmets, bracers, and plates of Yushmans and Bakters. In the Middle Ages, among the Europeans, it was mainly Italians who used this technique and gradually it came to naught, remaining a characteristic feature of Eastern, for example, Caucasian weapons.
Parade armor ordered by the King of Sweden Eric XIV, around 1563 - 1565. In his hand the figure holds a marshal's baton.
Inlay technology is no less ancient. The essence of inlaying is that the metal wire of gold or silver is hammered into recesses on the surface of the metal. In Italy, this technology began to be used in the 16th century, although it was known in the West for a long time, since ancient times, and was widely used to decorate rings, buckles and brooches. Then it was forgotten and spread again through the Spaniards and Italians who were dealing with Arabs. From the beginning of the 16th century, the Toleda gunsmiths, the masters of Florence and Milan, whose inlaid weapons spread throughout Europe and were admired everywhere, very successfully used the metal inlay technique. The technology itself is very simple: on metal, grooves are cut with a chisel or chisel, into which pieces of gold or silver wire are hammered. Then the inlaid parts heat up and the wire is firmly connected to the base. There are two types of inlay: the first is flat, in which the wire driven into the base is at the same level with its surface, and the second is relief when it projects above the surface of the base and creates a certain relief. Flat inlay is easier, cheaper and more profitable, as it is enough to polish and polish it, as she is ready. But this method has its limitations. Inlaying is always done in thin lines and in areas of relatively small area. Large areas therefore have to be gilded with gold foil.
The same armor on the other side.
The second half of the 15th century was marked by the use of such decorative equipment, and a new one for weapons business, like chasing for iron. Chasing on gold was known to different nations, in different eras, and even in the Bronze Age, and in Byzantium the heyday was almost the main branch of applied art. But this technology was still typical for working with soft metals, but the iron is by no means relevant to them. And on what, on what gland was minted? Therefore, only with the advent of lamellar armor, and not immediately, the art of master gunsmiths reached such heights that they mastered iron embossing techniques, and managed to create excellent knight armor for both the knights themselves and their horses.
The horsehead is simply amazing, as is the petrail.
At first glance, the work seems to be simple. A drawing is made on the metal with an engraving needle, after which a three-dimensional figure or “picture” is knocked out from the wrong side on which it is made, with the help of hammers and chasers of various shapes. But when it comes to iron, work becomes much more difficult, since the workpiece must be processed in the heated form. And if the work on iron always starts from the "inside", then fine processing is carried out both from the front and from the reverse side. And every time the product needs to be heated. Cities such as Milan, Florence and, of course, Augsburg were famous for their chased works.
One of the scenes on the right. Interestingly, King Eric XIV, in my opinion, has never received the most luxurious armor among the most beautiful ever made. They were intercepted by his enemy, the Danish king, after which in 1603, they were sold to the Elector Christian II of Saxony, and thus they came to Dresden.
The decor of King Eric's armor is downright extraordinarily luxurious: in addition to the fine decoration, it consists of six images of the feats of Hercules. The decoration of the armor was made by the master from Antwerp, Eliseus Lieberts, according to the sketches of the famous master Etienne Delon from Orleans, whose “small ornaments” were highly valued among gunsmiths and were widely used to finish the most luxurious armor.
Hercules tames the Cretan bull.
Another technology used in the design of armor is metal carving. Italy in the XVI century in the use of this technology also overtook all other countries. However, in the 17th century, French and German gunsmiths managed to catch up and even outrun their Italian colleagues in the beauty of their products. It should be noted that the minting is usually done on sheet metal, but the carving of metals is used more widely. It can be seen on the handles of swords, swords and daggers, it adorns the gun locks and gun barrels, stirrups, horse mouthpieces and many other parts and parts of weapons and armor. Both chasing and metal carving were used most often in Italy - in Milan, Florence, Venice, and later in Germany - Augsburg and Munich, very often together with inlay and gilding. That is, the more techniques the master used, the more impressive the armor he created.
Nakrupnik. Rear view on the right.
In different countries, over time, they developed their most popular methods of decorating weapons and armor. For example, in Italy it was fashionable to create chased compositions on large round shields. In Spain, chasing was used in the design of armor and the same shields. At the beginning of the 17th century, they used stamping along with gilding, but the ornaments were not rich at all, so there was a clear decline in applied weapon art.
Nakrupnik. Rear view to the left.
The last type of design weapons and armor has become enamel. It appeared in the early Middle Ages and was widely used in jewelry. Cloisonne enamel was used to decorate the handles of swords and overlays on shields, as well as brooches - pin for raincoats. To decorate the hilt of swords and swords, as well as the sheath of the scabbard, enamel work was carried out in France (in Limoges) and Italy (and in Florence). In the 17th century, artistic enamel was used to decorate the butts of richly decorated rifles, and most often, the powder flasks.
Nakrupnik. Left view.
Petrail view on the left.
A number of changes in the decor of the armor was associated with changes in the actual armor. For example, at the beginning of the XVI century. in Italy, copper horse armor spread and chasing copper became popular. But soon they refused from this armor, as they did not protect from bullets and instead of them began to use leather belts with copper plates in the places of their crosshairs, which braided the horse’s croup and well protected from slashing blows. Accordingly, these badges-medals also began to decorate ...
We in the Hermitage also have similar headsets for a horse and a rider. And they are also very interesting. For example, this one from Nuremberg. Between 1670-1690 Materials - steel, leather; Technologies - forging, etching, engraving. That's just something with the leg of this rider ... "not that"! The armor is not put on a mannequin, but simply fastened and mounted on a horse ...
In this regard, the knights in armor and on horseback from the Artillery Museum in St. Petersburg, Dresden are not inferior! Photo N.Mihaylova