Standing Officer Holding a Boar's Spear

Standing Officer Holding a Boar's Spear


Hendrick Goltzius

(Dutch, 1558–1617)

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash with red chalk (in the face and hands), heightened with traces of white, over black chalk, incised throughout, framing lines in brown ink and graphite

Support: Beige(1) laid paper, perimeter mounted to cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 20.6 x 15.6 cm (8 1/8 x 6 1/8 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1994.195


Did you know?

This military officer brandishes a type of spear used for boar hunting, in which the two lugs on the blade were meant to keep the animal from pushing its way up the spear to attack the hunter.


This sheet is the only known preparatory drawing for an important group of engravings depicting military figures designed by Hendrick Goltzius between 1582 and 1600. Here Goltzius depicted a military officer with a confident stance and direct gaze as he staunchly holds a spear in his right hand and carries his sword on his hip. Details such as the fluttering scarf and the feather-trimmed hat enliven the image. The background portrays the deeds of the protagonist, including a scene with troops on the right, and two other officers, perhaps shown training with spears, on the left. Such imagery usually promoted militaristic values such as bravery in the period, as the Netherlands underwent continuous warfare with Spain. Goltzius's technique includes fine pen strokes and delicate brown washes combined with red chalk additions on the face and hands, which add a degree of naturalism and finish to the drawing.

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