Man in Armour Holding a Pike

Man in Armour Holding a Pike
Artist:
Jan van Bijlert (Dutch, 1597/98-1671)
Date:
c. 1630
Medium:
Oil on canvas 
Dimensions:
33-1/2 x 27-1/2 in. (85.1 x 69.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
M.1978.18.P 
Copyright:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View
Description

Jan van Bijlert was a prime exponent of the Utrecht school of painting in the seventeenth century. He had a predilection for simple, life-size half-figures and regularly painted both formal and allegorical portraits. However, the soldier’s theatrical pose, vigilant gaze and elaborate suit of armor argue against this being a portrait and in favor of its being a representation of a type of mythological personage, perhaps the god Mars. The elaborate sash and orange and blue feathers symbolize the forces of the United Netherlands and their fight against Spain during the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648).

Provenance:

[Owned jointly by Colnaghi, London, and Edward Speelman, Ltd., London, by 1974, sold 1975 to];
[Schaeffer Galleries, New York, stock no. 2826, sold 1977 to];
[Robert Noortman Gallery, London, sold 1978 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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