Abstract: The body of the early-modern ruler would never truly be his own. Instead, it served as the physical embodiment of the broader nation state. For the Hapsburgs in the sixteenth century, armor was one key method for uniting the physical body of the king with the military prowess of the nation. This process began at a young age: in the case of Philip III, at the age of seven, when he received a suit of armor produced by Milanese armorer Lucio Piccinino. This paper unites a visual study of gauntlets made for Philip III with studies of the contemporary portraits of Philip III by artists at the Hapsburg courts and historical analysis of Phillip’s education. By analyzing each of these sources, it becomes clear that Phillip’s prince hood was caught in a crossroads between the ancient and the modern. He at once embodied the classical heritage of Greece and Rome, indicated by the decorative program of the armor, and the future of the country, suggested by the armor’s contemporary form and function.
Thank you to the editing team at the Coalition of Master’s Scholars on Material Culture.