Details
1112 in. (29.2 cm.) high
Provenance
with The Merrin Gallery, New York.
Acquired by the current owner from the above, 1991.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay


The Corinthian helmet was perhaps the most successful helmet type during the Archaic period in Greece. It became the most popular choice by the late 7th-early 6th century B.C, shutting out its competitors due to its combination of elegant form with maximum protection, leaving just a small area of the warrior's face exposed.
The type improved upon earlier models in terms of its shape and ease of production. As seen on the present example, the Greek craftsmen had learned to fashion helmets from a single piece of bronze rather than two halves welded together, strengthening it and adding heightened protection for the warrior. It featured the peaked dart that divides the cheek- and neck-guards, as opposed to the earlier prototype on which the cheek-pieces and neck-guard were all the same length. This was perhaps adopted from the less popular Illyrian helmet, which was used concurrently (see P. Connolly, Greece and Rome at War, p. 60). The type also minimized the T-shaped portion of exposed skin, adding extra protection for the eyes, nose and mouth, although making it harder to breathe, see and hear.
Aesthetics were also prioritized by the late 6th century in particular, with the type described as “a masterpiece of the armourer’s art with a high domed skull, gracefully curving cheek-pieces and a slender nasal-guard” (M. Merrony, Mougins Museum of Classical Art, p. 208). The helmet presented here is undoubtably one of these aesthetic masterpieces, balancing the symmetrical nature of the elongated features with its innate functionality. The highly stylized helmet almost takes a human form imbued with anthropomorphic characteristics, including the large almond-shaped eyeholes with thick beveled upper and lower "lids" narrowing to extended cosmetic lines, a slender nose guard with raised edges, and two gracefully-sloping cheek-guards. Pronounced carination separates the brow from the gracefully arching dome, which narrows at the crown. While undecorated, the helmet portrays a beauty almost modern in its simplicity. The elegant shape is further complimented by the superb azurite blue and malachite green patina. For a nearly identical example see no. 33 in A. Bottini, et al., Antike Helme.

Related Articles

More from
Antiquities
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report