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Helmet of Corinthian Type (early 6th century BCE)

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Helmet of Corinthian Type (early 6th century BCE).

About the Work

Title : Helmet of Corinthian Type
Year : early 6th century BCE
Medium : Bronze
Dimensions : 24 x 18 x 27.5 cm (9 7/16 x 7 1/16 x 10 13/16 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Craftsmanship for the Bronze Helmet

In the era from which the piece above originates, bronze was commonly used in the making of instruments of war. While it helped keep a soldier’s skull safe from enemy attacks, it did impair their hearing. However, its benefits outweighed the drawbacks and bronze helmets became commonly used by the Greek armies.

Regarding the use of such helmets, the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums explains:

“Such helmets were appropriate for the battle tactics of the Greek hoplites, infantry soldiers armed with spear, sword, and a large, round shield, who fought in the close formation of the phalanx.”

Craftsmanship of instruments of war including the one presented here was not taken lightly. It was a matter of prestige and honour to be able to wear such a helmet. Therefore, craftsmen of the time dedicated much of their time and effort to creating the best pieces. After all, people’s lived depended on it.

Other Details

Helmet of Corinthian Type is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 3410. It is part of the museum’s collection of the South Arcade. The piece has been housed at the Fogg Art Museum since 1956.

To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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