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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 373

The MET : Gallery 373 : European Arms and Armor, Late Medieval to Renaissance

Art From Us, Museum Guide #590

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #590 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 373. Showcasing a collection of European Arms and Armor, Late Medieval to Renaissance.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Hunting Sword, ca. 1500.
  2. Crossbow of Count Ulrich of Wutteberg, from 1460.
  3. Crossbow of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, from 1489.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #590

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #590.

To begin, here’s a quote from the Metropolitan Museum of Art about their department of Arms and Armour :

“The principal goals of the Arms and Armor Department are to collect, preserve, research, publish, and exhibit distinguished examples representing the art of the armorer, swordsmith, and gunmaker. The focus of the collection is on works that show outstanding design and decoration, rather than those of purely military or technical interest.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 373

This particular gallery at the MET boasts of holding a collection of swords, crossbows, shields and armor originating from between the fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries in Europe.

We have already discussed the early origins of the sword as a weapon in our Art From Us, Museum Guide #580. Let us now consider the crossbow.

The Crossbow

This crossbow, as the name suggests is a weapon with a prominent horizontal bow-like assembly. This ‘bow’ structure is called a prod. It is mounted on a stock. The weapon is used to shoot what are known as ‘bolts’ or ‘quarrels’. In its design, the crossbow seems to echo the Greek Bastilla, a siege weapon. It began being used in Europe and China around the 7th century BC.


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