Paolo Riccardi - inv. 3
This work is one of twenty plates that Gian Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli commissioned from Paolo Riccardi, an expert watercolourist. They show the most important pieces in the Milanese gentleman’s collection of arms and armour, among which this Iranian coat of mail from the fifteenth century.
This collection of arms and armour was Gian Giacomo’s first passion and the room that housed them was created between 1846 and 1851 by the painter-scenographer Filippo Peroni with lavish neo-Gothic furnishings. The commission to immortalise the most beautiful pieces was given to Riccardi a little after 1851. The costly practice of reproducing in watercolour the individual pieces of a collection was fairly common before the arrival of photography. The plates are also valuable pieces of documentary evidence: for example, the helmet in this picture got lost and this watercolour is the only proof of its existence.
The plates are extremely interesting for their size and the sophisticated technical skills evident in the rendering of the effects of light refracting on steel.