Man in Armour Holding a Pike
c. 1630
Jan van Bijlert (Dutch, 1597/98-1671)
On View

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).


  • Artist Name: Jan van Bijlert (Dutch, 1597/98-1671)
  • Title: Man in Armour Holding a Pike
  • 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

Object Information

[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.

The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974-10-19 to 1975-01-05
  • J. Kennedy, Images of the Soldier in 17th Century Dutch Art,
  • Crombie, T., Apollo, p. 432
  • de Jong, Erik, De 'Slapende Mars' van Hendrick ter Brugghen,fig. 7 p. 7
  • P. H. Janssen, Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, p. 103
  • Palmer, L., Pasadena Star News,
  • Huys Janssen, Paul, Jan van Bijlert, 1597/98-1671. Catalogue Raisonné.,no. 109, pl. 64 pp. 140-141
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 58
  • Huys Janssen, Paul, Jan van Bijlert (1597/98-1671), Schilder in Utrecht,no. 98 pp. 168-169
  • David Hockney, Secret Knowledge: Retracing Six Centuries of Western Art, p. 179
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum,1980, p. 53
  • Blankert, Albert and Leonard J. Slatkes, Nieuw licht op de Gouden Eeuw. Hendrick ter Brugghen en zijn tijdgenoten, pp. 137-138
  • Smith, Robert Douglas, Heavy Metal,fig. 5 pp. 28-29
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, p. 332
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,no. 112 p. 119
  • de Meyere, J. A. L., Antiek,fig. 20 p. 353
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1524 p. 416
  • Nicolson, Benedict, The International Caravaggesque Movement. Lists of Pictures by Caravaggio and his Followers throughout Europe from 1590 to 1650.,fig. 207 p. 28
  • Robert Noortman Gallery, A Selection of Important Paintings by Old and Modern Masters from Our 1978 Collection,no. 6
  • Nicholson, Benedict, Caravaggism in Europe,ill. 1313 p. 73
  • The Connoisseur, p. 42
  • Weltkunst, p. 5
Audio Tour
English | Español
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form