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Portrait of a Man in Armor
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Circle of Antonis Mor
Flemish, 1558
Oil on canvas

43 3/4 x 31 1/2 in.
78.PA.260

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This man's armor reveals some information about him, though his name is unknown. Such a suit was designed for the "foot tourney," a combat in which two men faced one another over a wooden barrier and struck each other with a prescribed number of blows from a pike or sword. The armor was probably made in southern Germany, but officers from Austria, Spain, and parts of Italy would have sought it out. Soldiers always wore their sword on the opposite side of its primary use; thus this man's rapier, hanging from his right side, demonstrates that he is left-handed.

The artist may have adopted this three-quarter-length, three-quarter-view format from Titian, who introduced the composition in military portraits in the 1530s. As court painter to King Philip II of Spain, Mor painted many such portraits of members of the Spanish court and the Habsburg family. Mor's new style of portraiture combined austerity and formal poses with insight into his sitters' characters, conveying their humanity along with their importance.