The Sentry (Fabritius)

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The Sentry
ArtistCarel Fabritius
Year1654 (1654)
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions68 cm × 58 cm (27 in × 23 in)
LocationStaatliches Museum Schwerin, Schwerin, Germany

The Sentry is an oil-on-canvas painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius, created in 1654.[1] Its dimensions are 68 by 58 cm (27 by 23 in).[2] The work is in the collection of the Staatliches Museum in Schwerin. It represents a resting sentry and a dog.[3]

The painting was cleaned in 2004. During this treatment, old overpainting dating to the eighteenth century or earlier was removed, revealing a second soldier whose legs are visible below the arch at left.[4] In 2005, the art historian Bart Cornelis wrote: "Although the painting looks brilliant after treatment, one cannot help feeling that part of its charm has gone, now that the splendid isolation of the soldier has been lost by the sudden appearance of another soldier .... Whoever overpainted this detail at such an early stage in the picture's history seemed to have understood that he could actually strengthen the composition."[4]

Art historian Laura Cumming writes, "The Sentry is the most enigmatic of Fabritius's scant few works.... This is a public painting of inward emotion; a civic guard with a private mind.... He might be a deserter, outsider or anti-hero. Fabritius withholds his story, almost to the point of abstraction".[5]


  1. ^ First survey exhibition ever of the work of Carel Fabritius, Leica Microsystems, 2009. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  2. ^ The Sentry, Carl Fabritius, Essential Vermeer 2.0. Retrieved on 21 August 2014.
  3. ^ (in German) Regine Kränz, "Der "Torwache" von Carel Fabritius", Retrieved on 21 August 2014
  4. ^ a b Cornelis, B. (2005). "Carel Fabritius. The Hague and Schwerin". The Burlington Magazine, 147 (1223): 132–134.
  5. ^ Cumming, Laura (2023). Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life & Sudden Death. New York: Scribner, pp. 159, 162.

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