Carel Fabritius

Last updated

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
Spouse(s)Agatha 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 Delft's most famous painters, Vermeer and de Hooch; it is likely that Fabritius was a strong influence on them.

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

Related Research Articles

Baroque painting

Baroque painting is the painting associated with the Baroque cultural movement. The movement is often identified with Absolutism, the Counter Reformation and Catholic Revival, but the existence of important Baroque art and architecture in non-absolutist and Protestant states throughout Western Europe underscores its widespread popularity.

Paulus Potter Dutch painter

Paulus Potter was a Dutch painter who specialized in animals within landscapes, usually with a low vantage point.

1654 in art Overview of the events of 1654 in art

Events from the year 1654 in art.

Pieter de Hooch

Pieter de Hooch was a Dutch Golden Age painter famous for his genre works of quiet domestic scenes with an open doorway. He was a contemporary of Jan Vermeer in the Delft Guild of St. Luke, with whom his work shares themes and style.

<i>The Night Watch</i> 1642 painting by Rembrandt

Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, also known as The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch, but commonly referred to as The Night Watch, is a 1642 painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. It is in the collection of the Amsterdam Museum but is prominently displayed in the Rijksmuseum as the best-known painting in its collection. The Night Watch is one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Gerrit Dou

Gerrit Dou, also known as GerardDouw or Dow, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, whose small, highly polished paintings are typical of the Leiden fijnschilders. He specialised in genre scenes and is noted for his trompe-l'œil "niche" paintings and candlelit night-scenes with strong chiaroscuro. He was a student of Rembrandt.

Nicolaes Maes

Nicolaes Maes was a Dutch painter known for his genre scenes, portraits, religious compositions and the occasional still life. A pupil of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, he returned to work in his native city of Dordrecht for 20 years. In the latter part of his career he returned to Amsterdam where he became the leading portrait painter of his time. Maes contributed to the development of genre painting in the Netherlands and was the most prominent portrait painter working in Amsterdam in the final three decades of the 17th century.

Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten Painter and writer from the Northern Netherlands

Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten was a Dutch painter of the Golden Age, who was also a poet and author on art theory.

Ferdinand Bol Dutch painter (1616-1680)

Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch painter, etcher and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.

Rembrandt 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, and biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative and gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was also an avid art collector and dealer.

Pieter Codde Dutch painter

Pieter Jacobsz Codde was a Dutch painter of genre works, guardroom scenes and portraits.

Carel van Savoyen

Carel van Savoyen or Carel van Savoy (1620/21–1665) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and printmaker who was active in Antwerp and Amsterdam. He is mainly known for his history paintings and portraits but he also painted allegories and genre scenes.

Amsterdamse Joffers Group of 19th century Dutch women artists

The Amsterdamse Joffers were a group of women artists in Amsterdam who met weekly in the last quarter of the 19th century to paint and show their works together. They were known for their style that followed the example of the Amsterdam Impressionists, and were all members of the Amsterdam artist societies Arti et Amicitiae and Sint Lucas, and most followed the lessons by professor August Allebé of the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten of Amsterdam.

Self-portraits by Rembrandt

The dozens of self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre. Rembrandt created approaching one hundred self-portraits including over forty paintings, thirty-one etchings and about seven drawings; some remain uncertain as to the identity of either the subject or the artist, or the definition of a portrait.

Fabritius is a North European surname and Latin given name. Bearers of the name include:

<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> (painting) 1654 painting by Carel Fabritius

The Sentry is a 1654 painting of a resting sentry and a dog by Carel Fabritius. 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.

<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.


Commons-logo.svg Media related to Carel Fabritius at Wikimedia Commons