The Frist Art Museum presents KNIGHTS IN ARMOR

The Frist Art Museum presents Knights in Armor, an exhibition of remarkable Renaissance weapons and armor from the world-renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy. Organized by Contemporanea Progetti in collaboration with Museo Stibbert, the exhibition will be presented in Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from July 1 to October 9, 2022.

With over a hundred engaging artifacts, including full armor, mounted equestrian figures, helmets, swords, and paintings, Knights in Armor tells the fascinating story of the European knight. While describing the historical and functional contexts of Renaissance arms and armor, the exhibition simultaneously highlights the undeniable beauty and artistic appeal of these works.

Knights were mounted soldiers who fought in battles, jousts and tournaments, and required a special covering to cover their bodies from head to toe. “In the Middle Ages, knights wore chain mail, armor made of a mesh of interlocking rings. This exhibit, however, focuses on a later chapter in their history when, just before 1500, they switched almost completely to wearing of plate armor, which offered superior protection,” says Frist Art Museum senior curator Trinita Kennedy. “A wearable sculpture and fashionable dress as well as defensive protection, plate armor was produced in sophisticated forms and enhanced with engraved and embossed ornaments and inscriptions. The horses were elegantly outfitted with their own armor, known as a barding.” Weapons are the focus of the exhibit, with an emphasis on the wide variety of sword styles favored by knights, as well as d other types of weapons such as crossbows, maces and polearms.

For guests coming to see this exhibition with families and school groups, the Frist has developed a special accompanying route that leads them on the path of chivalry through the perspective of a fictional young knight named Marco. In the Frist’s interactive Martin ArtQuest gallery, guests of all ages can expect new art activities, including designing shields, creating armor for model horses, drawing a knight, animating mythical creatures, building block castles and much more.

Mildred D. Field