Iron Men

Fashion in Steel

Five hundred years ago the harness, this archetypical-looking piece of male protective clothing made of steel was a phenomenon that deeply impacted Europe’s military and cultural history. Yet, the image of the armoured knight on his charger who proves himself on the battlefield and in the tiltyard continues to inform our language and culture to this day.

In the early twenty-first century, we need to understand the roots of a role model that glorifies a strong man always ready to take up arms. On closer inspection, the story of the steel harness turns out to be much more complex than we expect. It is full of details we would probably not associate with the chivalric culture of the past nor with the dominant male image of the present

Accompanies the exhibition of the same name, 29 March – 26 Jun 2022, KHM Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

English and German text.

Co-published with KHM.


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