Mars and Venus
Cornelis van Haarlem (Dutch, 1562-1638)
Not on View

The love affair of Mars and Venus is recounted by Homer in the Odyssey and by Ovid in the Metamorphoses. Venus, the wife of Vulcan, falls in love with Mars, the god of war. The moment of their tryst is depicted here with great pictorial flair. Maidservants prepare the goddess of love for her amorous adventure. Mars, too, is assisted out of his garment, his weapons already cast aside at his feet. No longer the ferocious warrior, Mars is subdued by the power of love. The artist includes the charming device of two putti at right holding the god’s shield and halberd. This painted story was enjoyed as much for its learned, literary references as for its erotic content.


  • Artist Name: Cornelis van Haarlem (Dutch, 1562-1638)
  • Title: Mars and Venus
  • Date: 1599
  • Medium: Oil on copper
  • Dimensions: 21-3/4 x 17-1/4 in. (55.2 x 43.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
  • Accession Number: M.2010.1.25.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Possibly Aeltie Pieters. Begga, Haarlem, 3 August 1684.
Presumably Wilhelmus van Velthuyzen (sale, Rotterdam, Philippus Losel, 15 April 1751, lot 47, to?);
Hendrik Verschuuring, The Hague, by 1752 (sale, The Hague, Stephanus Rietmulder, 17 September 1770, lot 75).
Jan Lucas van der Dussen (sale, Amsterdam, Jan Sleves Hendriksz., Philippus van der Schley/Jan Yver, 31 October 1774, lot 19, for 110 to);
[Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (1726-1798), Amsterdam].
Probably (Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, Van Campen, 25 January 1830, lot 29, to);
Possibly Sagan collection and thus by descent to;
Frederic Wilhelm Konstantin, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Löwenberg-Schlesien, 1858 – still in 1863.
[Fritz Gurlitt, Berlin, 1935];
[Wolfgang Gurlitt, Munich, by 1955, (sale Cologne, Lempertz, 18 November 1965, lot 64, to)];
Ruax or Raux [for?];
[Adolphe Stein, Paris, by 1966].
[Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Switzerland, by 1966, consigned to P. de Boer, Amsterdam October, 1966, sold July 1967 to];
Becker Collection, Dortmund, sold 1973 through;
[G. Cramer Oudekunst, The Hague, to];
Norton Simon, by bequest 1993 to;
Jennifer Jones Simon Art Trust, to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Meister des Manierismus: Gemälde, Handzeichnungen, Drückgraphik

  • Munich, Galerie Wolfgang Gurlitt, 1962 to

Winter Exhibition 1966/67

  • Kunsthandel P. de Boer, 1967 to 1968
  • Parthey, G., Deutscher Bildersaal, 1863, p. 676
  • Stechow, Wolfgang, Elseviers Geillustreerd Maandschrift, 1935, p. 84
  • Kunsthalle P. de Boer, Winter Exhibition 1966/67, 1966,
  • Rolf, Fritz, Sammlung Becker I: Gemälde alter Meister, 1967,
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum, 1980, p. 37
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, 1986, p. 215
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 982 p. 359
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