Self-portrait (c. 1645)
|Born||Baptized 27 February 1622
Middenbeemster, Dutch Republic
|Died||12 October 1654 (age 32)
Delft, Dutch Republic
Fabritius was born in Beemster, the ten-year old polder, as the son of Pieter Carelsz, a painter and schoolteacher. 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 Fabritius. In the early 1650s he moved to Delft, and joined the Delft painters' guild in 1652. He died young, caught in the explosion of the Delft gunpowder magazine on October 12, 1654, which destroyed a quarter of the city, along with his studio and many of his paintings. Only about a dozen paintings have survived. Four of his paintings are in National collections in the United Kingdom. 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. In a poem written by Arnold Bon to his memory, he is called Karel Faber.
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 in 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.
The Goldfinch (1654), showing Fabritius' use of cool colour harmonies, delicate lighting effects, and a light background
List of works
- 1640 Abraham de Potter, oil on canvas, 68.5 x 57 cm, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
- ca. 1640 The Beheading of John the Baptist, oil on canvas, 149 x 121 cm, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
- 1643 The Raising of Lazarus, oil on canvas, Warsaw National Museum, Warsaw
- 1643/45 Hagar and the Angel, oil on canvas, 157.5 x 136 cm, Residenzgalerie Salzburg
- c. 1644 Portrait of a Seated Woman with a Handkerchief, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
- 1645 - 47 Mercury and Aglauros oil on canvas, 72.4 x 91.1 cm, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
- 1646 Portrait of an old man, oil on board, musée du Louvre
- 1646 - 1651 A Girl with a Broom, oil on canvas, 107.3 x 91.4 cm, signed as Rembrandt, National Gallery of Art Washington D.C
- 1650 Self-portrait, oil on panel, 65 x 49 cm, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam
- 1652 A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller's Stall, oil on canvas on panel, 15.4 x 31.6 cm, National Gallery London
- 1654 The Goldfinch, oil on panel, Mauritshuis The Hague
- 1654 The Sentry, oil on canvas, 68 x 58 cm, Staatliche Museum Schwerin Schwerin
- 1654 Young Man in a Fur Cap, oil on canvas, 70.5 x 61.5 cm, National Gallery London (probably a self-portrait)
- Carel Fabritius 1622 - 1654. Het complete oeuvre Frederik J. Duparc, Ariane van Suchtelen, Gero Seelig. ISBN 978-90-400-8987-9
- The Oxford Dictionary of Art ISBN 0-19-280022-1
- Biography at Residenzgalerie Salzburg
- Olga's Gallery
- Adventure's in Cybersound interest in unusual perspectives.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carel Fabritius.|
- Description of the View of Delft at the National Gallery London
- Carel Fabritius at Artcyclopedia
- Works and literature on Carel Fabritius
- Vermeer and The Delft School, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes material on Carel Fabritius