Carel Fabritius

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Carel Fabritius
Carel Fabritius - Self-Portrait - Google Art Project.jpg
Self-portrait (c. 1645)
Carel Pietersz. Fabritius

baptised 27 February 1622
Died12 October 1654 (aged 32)
Education Rembrandt
Movement Delft School
SpouseAgatha van Pruyssen

Carel Pietersz. Fabritius (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈkaːrəl ˈpitərs faːˈbritsijɵs] ; bapt. 27 February 1622 – 12 October 1654) was a Dutch painter. He was a pupil of Rembrandt and worked in his studio in Amsterdam. Fabritius, who was a member of the Delft School, developed his own artistic style and experimented with perspective and lighting. Among his works are A View of Delft (1652; National Gallery, London), The Goldfinch (1654), and The Sentry (1654).



Carel Pietersz. Fabritius was born in February 1622 in Middenbeemster, a village in the ten-year-old Beemster polder in the Dutch Republic, and was baptized on 27 February of that year. [1] He was the son of Pieter Carelsz., a painter and schoolteacher,[ citation needed ] and he had two younger brothers, Barent and Johannes, who also became painters. [1] [2] [3]

Initially he worked as a carpenter (Latin: fabritius). In the early 1640s he studied at Rembrandt's studio in Amsterdam, along with his brother Barent. In the early 1650s he moved to Delft, and joined the Delft painters' guild in 1652.

Fabritius died young, caught in the explosion of the Delft gunpowder magazine on 12 October 1654, which destroyed a quarter of the city, along with his studio and many of his paintings. Only about a dozen paintings have survived. [4] According to Houbraken, his student Mattias Spoors and the church deacon Simon Decker died with him, since they were working on a painting together at the time. [4]

In a poem written by Arnold Bon to his memory, he is called Karel Faber. [4]


Of all Rembrandt's pupils, Fabritius was the only one to develop his own artistic style. A typical Rembrandt portrait would have a plain dark background with the subject defined by spotlighting. In contrast, Fabritius' portraits feature delicately lit subjects against light-coloured, textured backgrounds. Moving away from the Renaissance focus on iconography, Fabritius became interested in the technical aspects of painting. He used cool colour harmonies to create shape in a luminous style of painting.

Fabritius was also interested in complex spatial effects, as can be seen in the exaggerated perspective of A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller's Stall (1652). He also showed excellent control of a heavily loaded brush, as in The Goldfinch (1654). All these qualities appear in the work of Vermeer and de Hooch, both also based in Delft; it is likely that Fabritius was a strong influence on them.[ citation needed ]

List of works


  1. 1 2 (in Dutch) Carel Fabritius, Netherlands Institute for Art History. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  2. (in Dutch) Barent Fabritius, Netherlands Institute for Art History. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  3. (in Dutch) Johannes Fabritius, Netherlands Institute for Art History. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Karel Fabricius biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature
  5. Self-portrait, Carel Fabritius, c. 1645 Archived 13 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine , Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  6. A Girl with a Broom, National Gallery of Art. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  7. Portrait of Abraham de Potter, Amsterdam Silk Merchant, Carel Fabritius, 1649, Rijksmuseum. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  8. 1 2 4 artworks by or after Carel Fabritius at the Art UK site

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<i>The Goldfinch</i> (painting) Painting by Carel Fabritius

The Goldfinch is a painting by the Dutch Golden Age artist Carel Fabritius of a life-sized chained goldfinch. Signed and dated 1654, it is now in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands. The work is a trompe-l'œil oil on panel measuring 33.5 by 22.8 centimetres that was once part of a larger structure, perhaps a window jamb or a protective cover. It is possible that the painting was in its creator's workshop in Delft at the time of the gunpowder explosion that killed him and destroyed much of the city.

<i>A View of Delft</i> 1652 painting by Carel Fabritius

A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller's Stall is a 1652 painting by Carel Fabritius. It is an oil painting on canvas of 20.9 by 35.7 cm of a cityscape of Delft. The work has been in the collection of the National Gallery in London since 1922. The unusual perspective distortion, especially visible to the right of the church, suggests that it may have been intended to have been displayed on a curved surface at the back of a perspective box hence making an illusion of anamorphosis. Fabritius is mentioned in contemporary documents in connection with perspective boxes. The view is of the Nieuwe Kerk facing the Town Hall and several houses, one of which is still extant, at the point where the Oude Langendijk canal meets the Vrouwenrecht. The size of the canvas, exceptionally small for a cityscape of its kind, also supports the perspective-box hypothesis. Another possibility is that Fabritius designed the picture with the aid of a double-convex lens, as these may create distorted proportions in a pattern akin to those seen in the painting. However, material analyses carried out during conservation strengthen the possibility of the perspective-box view.

<i>The Sentry</i> (Fabritius) 1654 painting by Carel Fabritius

The Sentry is an oil on canvas painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius, created in 1654. It is an oil painting on canvas of 68 by 58 cm. The work is in the collection of the Staatliches Museum in Schwerin and was restored in 2004. It represents a resting sentry and a dog.

<i>Portrait of Abraham de Potter</i> Painting by Carel Fabritius

Portrait of Abraham de Potter, Amsterdam Silk Merchant is a 1649 portrait painting of silk merchant Abraham de Potter by Carel Fabritius. The oil painting on canvas is 68.5 by 57 cm. The work has been in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam since 1892.

<i>Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet</i> 1657 painting by Rembrandt

Portrait of Catharina Hooghsaet (1607–1685) is a 1657 painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt.

<i>Hagar and the Angel</i>

Hagar and the Angel is a c.1643-1645 oil on canvas painting of a scene from the Book of Genesis by Carel Fabritius, dating from that artist's time in Rembrandt's studio or shortly afterwards. It is now in the Leiden Collection in New York.

<i>Hera</i> (painting) Painting by Carel Fabritius

Hera or Hera Hiding During the Battle Between the Gods and the Giants is a c.1643 oil on canvas painting by Carel Fabritius, produced during his apprenticeship in Rembrandt's studio or shortly afterwards. It is now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.


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