Man in Armor (Mars?)

Style of Rembrandt (Dutch, second or third quarter 17th century)

Oil on canvas
40 1/8 x 35 5/8 in. (101.9 x 90.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, 1871
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This painting, acquired as by Aert de Gelder, has for decades been assigned either to Rembrandt's cousin Karel van der Pluym (1625–1672), or to Heyman Dullaert (1636–1684), a Rotterdam poet and painter who was Rembrandt's pupil in the early 1650s. The connection with Dullaert is encouraged by Arnold Houbraken's reference (1721) to a canvas by Dullaert, "The God of War Mars in a Reflecting Cuirass," that was sold as a Rembrandt in Amsterdam. However, the subject was fairly common (e.g., the famous "Man in the Golden Helmet" in Berlin, now attributed to an unknown Rembrandt pupil), and the present picture has little in common with Dullaert's few surviving works. Its style and subject do recall several paintings by Van der Pluym, though most of them are of lesser quality.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    Étienne-Joseph-Théophile Thoré (William Bürger), Paris (until d. 1869); William T. Blodgett, Paris (from 1870; sold half share to Johnston); William T. Blodgett, Paris, and John Taylor Johnston, New York (1870–71; sold to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Nashville. Fisk University. April 20–August 15, 1951, no catalogue.

    Atlanta University. September 1, 1951–January 30, 1952, no catalogue.

    New Orleans. Dillard University. February 1–April 30, 1952, no catalogue.

    New York. Hunter College. "Dutch Celebration," April 27–May 11, 1953, no catalogue?

    Raleigh. North Carolina Museum of Art. "Rembrandt and His Pupils," November 16–December 30, 1956, no. 21a (of pupils; as "Mars," by Heyman Dullaert).

    New York. Union League Club. "Exhibition from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 23, 1969–January 2, 1970, checklist no. 15.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 31.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

  • References

    Emil Kegel. "Berichte und Mittheilungen aus Sammlungen und Museen, über staatliche Kunstpflege und Restaurationen, neue Funde: New-York, das Metropolitan-Museum." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 7 (1884), p. 461, as by de Gelder.

    F[ritz von]. Harck. "Berichte und Mittheilungen aus Sammlungen und Museen, über staatliche Kunstpflege und Restaurationen, neue Funde: Aus amerikanischen Galerien." Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft 11 (1888), p. 75, as by de Gelder.

    W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 18, as by de Gelder.

    Humphry Ward. Letter to Mr. Robinson. April 21, 1908, calls it a portrait of Rembrandt's brother Adrian, and states that it cannot be by de Gelder.

    Karl Lilienfeld. Arent de Gelder. The Hague, 1914, pp. 71, 185, 204, no. 180, as a portrait of an admiral, an early work by de Gelder.

    W. R. Valentiner. Rembrandt and His Pupils. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 1956, pp. 38, 116–17, no. 21a, ill., identifies it with a painting by Heyman Dullaert, mentioned by Houbraken, that "was so much like a Rembrandt that it was sold under his name"; states that it was painted about 1658.

    Werner Sumowski. "Nachträge zum Rembrandtjahr 1956." Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 7, no. 2 (1957/58), p. 236.

    D. van Fossen. "The Paintings of Aert de Gelder." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1969, p. 294, no. X-10 [see Ref. Sumowski 1980], as not by de Gelder.

    Wolfgang Schöne. "Rembrandts Mann mit dem Goldhelm." Jahrbuch der Akademie Wissenschaften in Göttingen (1972), p. 38, fig. 7, tentatively as by Dullaert.

    Werner Sumowski. Drawings of the Rembrandt School. 3, New York, 1980, p. 1243, under no. 10, notes that it is one of two extant versions of Mars identified with a work by Dullaert.

    Claus Grimm. "Handwriting, Painting and the Very Structure of a Painting; Contribution to the Study of Attributions. I: Rembrandt's Helmets." Tableau 5 (December 1982/January 1983), p. 250, fig. 18, gives the attribution "Carel van der Pluym(?)" in the caption, but refers to it in the text as by Dullaert.

    Werner Sumowski. "J. A. Backer–A. van Dijck." Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. 1, Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], p. 653, no. 345, ill. p. 657, as hypothetically by Dullaert.

    John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. London, 1984, p. 231, notes that the Museum owned "two right and two wrong Rembrandts" by 1905.

    Jan Kelch. Der Mann mit dem Goldhelm. Berlin, 1986, p. 22, fig. 15, mentions it in connection with Houbraken's account.

    Jacques Foucart. Peintres rembranesques au Louvre. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 1988, p. 106, ill. p. 104, as by Dullaert.

    Jacques Foucart. "La peinture hollandaise et flamande de vanité: une réussite dans la diversité." Les Vanités dans la peinture au XVIIe siècle: Méditations sur la richesse, le dénuement et la rédemption. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen. Caen, 1990, p. 65, fig. 15, as by Dullaert; dates it about 1656–60.

    Christopher Brown et al. "Paintings." Rembrandt: The Master & His Workshop. Exh. cat., Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. 1, New Haven, 1991, p. 261, under no. 43, as by Dullaert.

    Walter Liedtke in "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, [1995], pp. 56, 112–15, 124, no. 31, ill. (color), as by a follower of Rembrandt; dates it 1650s, and rejects a connection with the Dullaert painting mentioned by Houbraken, "given that the subject was common in Rembrandt's circle".

    Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Paintings: Problems and Issues." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1, New York, 1995, p. 74.

    Frances Suzman Jowell. "Thoré-Bürger's Art Collection: 'A Rather Unusual Gallery of Bric-à-Brac'." Simiolus 30, no. 1/2 (2003), pp. 93–94, fig. 62.

    Katharine Baetjer. "Buying Pictures for New York: The Founding Purchase of 1871." Metropolitan Museum Journal 39 (2004), pp. 169, 197, 210, 245, appendix 1A no. 114, ill. p. 210 and fig. 35 (installation photograph).

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 708, 727–31, no. 167, colorpl. 167, considers an attribution to Van der Pluym possible, but not certain.

    Margaret Iacono in Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Lugt Collections. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2011, p. 72 n. 25.