Mars, God of War

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Gerrit van Honthorst (Dutch, 1590–1656, active in Italy)
Mars, God of War, 1624/27
Oil on canvas
35 1/2 × 29 in. (90.17 × 73.66 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Myron Laskin M1975.121
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
Currently on View

Gerrit van Honthorst was the premier representative of the Utrecht Caravaggisti, a school of painters so named because the artists were all deeply influenced by the work of the Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio (1571–1610). This painting bears many of the qualities typical of Honthorst and the Utrecht Caravaggisti. The intense, yet concealed light of Mars's torch creates dramatic passages of light and shadow. The composition, likewise, captures a moment of dramatic action, as the god of war, whom Honthorst chose to depict as an ordinary man, peers intently at something (or someone) beyond our view and opens his mouth to speak or cry out.

Publication History
Sawinski, Catherine. From the Collection: Anders Zorn Returns to Sweden. Entry posted July 12, 2016. (accessed July 15, 2016).

Sawinski, Catherine. Mythology at the Milwaukee Art Museum--Part 1. Entry posted August 17, 2012. http://blog.mam.org/2012/08/17/mythology-at-the-milwaukee-art-museum-part-1/ (accessed October 28, 2014).

Kluk, Maria. Konfrontacje, Inspiracje, Spotkania..., Arcydziela malarstwa europejskiego z muzeow amerykanskich i polskich (Masterpieces of European Painting from American and Polish Collections: Inspiration, Contribution, Integration). Warsaw, Poland: National Museum in Warsaw, 2003, p. 26–7, cat. 5, color illus. p. 27.

Milwaukee Art Museum News, September/October 2001, p. 7.

Weller, Dennis P. Sinners & Saints, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and His Dutch and Flemish Followers. Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, 1998, color illus. p. 137, pl. 22.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 34, b/w illus. p. 34.
Exhibition History
Konfrontacje, Inspiracje, Spotkania..., Arcydziela malarstwa europejskiego z muzeow amerykanskich i polskich (Masterpieces of European Painting from American and Polish Collections: Inspiration, Contribution, Integration), National Museum of Warsaw, Poland, February 28–May 4, 2003.

Saints and Sinners, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and His Dutch and Flemish Followers in America, North Carolina Museum of Art, September 29–December 27, 1998; Milwaukee Art Museum, January 29–April 18, 1999; The Dayton Art Institute, May 8–July 18, 1999.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.