This breastplate is from an armor which formed part of the arsenal of an unidentified noble family to equip its "guard" which in fact was a private militia. The front is etched with a large armorial device, sometimes called a family crest or family arms, comprising a field of stars divided by a bar sinister. Stars are a common element of Italian arms. The bar sinister denotes the origin of the lineage from an illegitimate birth (bastard), a common occurrence within the system of courtly love which, in Italy, began in Sicily. Below, a kneeling figure of a knight with his helmet on the ground in front of him, prays to the crucified Christ, opposite. At the foot of the cross, a large flower, signifying rebirth, springs from the ground. Similar spiritual scenes are preserved on armors in many public collections. Evidently, they were fairly common originally, however, due to their susceptibility to obliteration with repolishing, very few survive on armor in private hands.
Height including the three plate fauld: 17 1/2"