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

[on loan]

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1978-06-08 to 1978-12-18

To Do Battle: Conflict, Struggle, and Symbol in Art

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2002-03-08 to 2002-07-08

Encountering the Dutch Likeness: Portraiture in 17th Century Holland

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-09-02 to 1996

Six Centuries of Portraiture from the Permanent Collection

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1989-11-02 to 1990-12-16
  • Crombie, T., Apollo, p. 432
  • Weltkunst, p. 5
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974, no. 112 p. 119
  • Robert Noortman Gallery, A Selection of Important Paintings by Old and Modern Masters from Our 1978 Collection, 1978, no. 6
  • Nicolson, Benedict, The International Caravaggesque Movement. Lists of Pictures by Caravaggio and his Followers throughout Europe from 1590 to 1650., 1979, fig. 207 p. 28
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum, 1980, p. 53
  • de Jong, Erik, De 'Slapende Mars' van Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1980, fig. 7 p. 7
  • The Connoisseur, 1983, p. 42
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, 1986, p. 332
  • Blankert, Albert and Leonard J. Slatkes, Nieuw licht op de Gouden Eeuw. Hendrick ter Brugghen en zijn tijdgenoten, 1986, pp. 137-138
  • de Meyere, J. A. L., Antiek, 1986, fig. 20 p. 353
  • Nicholson, Benedict, Caravaggism in Europe, 1989, ill. 1313 p. 73
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 58
  • Huys Janssen, Paul, Jan van Bijlert (1597/98-1671), Schilder in Utrecht, 1994, no. 98 pp. 168-169
  • Huys Janssen, Paul, Jan van Bijlert, 1597/98-1671. Catalogue Raisonné., 1998, no. 109, pl. 64 pp. 140-141
  • P. H. Janssen, Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, 1999, p. 103
  • David Hockney, Secret Knowledge: Retracing Six Centuries of Western Art, 2001, p. 179
  • Palmer, L., Pasadena Star News, 2003,
  • Smith, Robert Douglas, Heavy Metal, 2004, fig. 5 pp. 28-29
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1524 p. 416
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