Italian Renaissance Armor Restored to the Louvre

Two magnificent pieces of Italian Renaissance armor have been restored to the Musée du Louvre in Paris, after being recovered by French police.

The prestige armor had originally been donated to the Museée du Louvre by the Rothschild family in 1922. The armor was stolen from the Louvre in May 1983 and presumably sold to a private collector. A military antiques expert who was advising a family in Bordeaux on their collection became suspicious about the armor’s origins and informed the police.

Italian Renaissance armor restored to the Musée du Louvre. Photo: Getty Images

The ornate suit of armor, including an elaborately decorated Burgundian helmet and backplate, was crafted in sixteenth-century Milan—one of the most important centers for the production of luxury arms and armor in early modern Europe. The suit of armor was not stolen in its entirety, so the breastplate and helmet will now be reunited with the suit’s other components at the Louvre. News reports have not yet indicated the make of the armor, but it looks similar to the prestige armor crafted by the Negroli family for use in tournaments and civic entries by royal and noble elites throughout Europe.

Philippe Malgouyres, conservateur en chef du Patrimoine in the Objets d’art department at the Musée du Louvre commented: “I was certain we would see them reappear one day because they are such singular objects. But I could never have imagined that it would work out so well – that they would be in France and still together,” according to The Guardian.

Italian Renaissance breastplate displayed at the Musée du Louvre. Photo: Getty Images

For more information on arms and armor in the collections of the Musée du Louvre, see: Philippe Malgouyres, Armes européennes : histoire d’une collection au Musée du Louvre (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2014). Malgouyres recently gave an online lecture at the Louvre in 2020.

BBC News, The Guardian, and The New York Times report on the return of the armor to the Musée du Louvre. LCI provides a video report in French.

This entry was posted in Art History, Court Studies, Cultural History, Early Modern Europe, Early Modern World, European History, European Wars of Religion, French History, French Wars of Religion, History in the Media, History of Violence, Material Culture, Museums and Historical Memory, Noble Culture and History of Elites, Paris History, Reformation History, Renaissance Art and History, War, Culture, and Society, Warfare in the Early Modern World. Bookmark the permalink.

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