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Parade helmet (burgonet) made in Italy

Although rather worn and lacking its cheek pieces, the burgonet is an impressive representative of the embossed and gilded parade armour worn by the ruling class during the Renaissance. Its shape and decoration were inspired by Roman armour, and the lion's mask fall piece is a reminiscent of a gladiator's visor. It is not a visor, however, having no holes in the eyes, and must have been worn raised, rather than down, as shown here. The sides of the skull are embossed respectively with winged nude half-figures of Fame and Victory terminating in acanthus leaves and foliated scrolls. The comb has a row of trophies, and, on the right side, an open book, inscribed in Greek 'By these things to the stars', indicating that through Fame and Victory the wearer would gain immortality. Since 1935, when it surfaced at a sale of 'theatrical junk', this burgonet has been attributed to the workshop of Filippo Negroli and his brothers in Milan, one of the greatest armour producers in Europe in the sixteenth century. However, this attribution has been questioned recently on stylistic grounds.