I've yet to put together anything worth blogging about so I thought I'd show you some pretty pictures from a book I got recently. (I'll post my recent advert design from work at some point).
Although the original 15th century Milanese armourers were the Missaglia family, the Negroli name surpassed its predecessor in both fame and prosperity, most likely because of the pleasure that Charles V of France took from the immensely detailed and finely worked crafts of the family.
15th century Italy was strongly affected by France – their stocky war-hardened knights and fearsome canons saw much of Tuscany and the surrounding regions when Cesare Borgia and his father, the pope, were unfolding their power-thirsty designs. The friendly relations between France and Florence are alluded to by the fact that the Medici coat of arms included the Fleur de Lis (above the 'palle'/balls). It was said that the Italians knew nothing of war and the French knew nothing of politics; this seems true if you consider that, at the time, the tyrants in Italy were Spanish, Swiss and French, and men like Machiavelli and Savonarola did so much through words.
I've yet to actually read in detail about the armour shown here and cannot offer any insight beyond saying that the first image looks, to me, as if Milan had its very own H.R.Giger to impress the masses and engross the powerful. I recently read something on proportion in aesthetics that I thought might be apparent in the armour here; it is the confluence of unity/order and complexity that results in beauty. Looking at Renaissance armour you can see this in action. The last image below demonstrates this aptly – it's immediately recognisable as a mirrored image so the 'order' is there, and the complexity of the illustration itself adds to the impression made on the viewer (which, the maker would hope, is one of awe).