school was born and spread throughout Europe. Known as
Mannerism (c.1520-1620), the new style was characterised
in particular by its close attention to ornament and detail.
Magnificent works of decorative armour were a dazzling
testimony to the Mannerist aesthetic of la bella maniera.
Motifs often designed by often well-known painters, were
recreated in metal, using a wide range of techniques – repoussé work, engraving, gilding, or damascening. One suit of armour might take an entire year to complete, and sometimes two. Here, our invisible but richly-armoured knight has taken the Twelve Labours of Hercules as his symbolic theme. The breastplate, shoulder- and kneepieces, shield and chamfrain are decorated with medallions recounting each episode. Created in association with the Musée de l’Armée in Paris, and inspired by princely armour of the French School, this carré – entitled Sous l’Egide de Mars (‘Under the Aegis of Mars’) – is a tribute to the museum’s exhibition of the same name, and the fine art of protecting oneself from the blows of enemies while impressing them with finery at the same time.