Gonzaga helmet - inv. 2591

Pompeo della Cesa (c. 1537-1610)

Gonzaga helmet
1591 c.
steel   gold  
5275 g
1879 bequest Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli
Inv. 2591

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In this work the artist displays his extraordinary skill at working the steel as if it were a fabric, creating effective contrasts between the burnishing of the metal ground and the gilding of the engraved vegetable motifs. The emblem of the crescent moon with the motto “SIC”, an acrostic of “Sic Illustrior Crescam” (“So I will grow nobler”), which recurs many times, belonged to Vincenzo I Gonzaga (1562-1612; Duke of Mantua and Monferrato from 1586). It blends perfectly with the decoration with volutes of leaves and flowers, becoming an integral part of it. This transposition to steel of patterns widely used in the decoration of velvets in vogue in the period is characteristic of the production of Pompeo della Cesa.