Carel Fabritius

Carel Pietersz. Fabritius (27 February 1622 in Midden-Beemster, 12 October 1654 in Delft, actually ) 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, The Goldfinch, and The Sentry.

Carel Fabritius was the eldest son of Pieter Carelsz. Fabritius and Barbertje Barentsdr van der Maes. The following entry can be found in the baptismal register of the Reformed Church of Midden-Beemster: “Anno 1622, 27th February Pieter Carelsz son Carel. Godfather Jan Carelsz “. After him, ten brothers and sisters were born, of whom the brothers Barent and John also decided to pursue a career as a painter. Little is known about his youth. For a long time, it was assumed that Carel learned and practiced the profession of carpenter. Reason for this was that in the files, in which he was confirmed as a member of the Reformed Church, “Carel Pietersen Timmermann. At the Herrenhaus “. But since there is nowhere else to be found in the register, modern research assumes that the family generally served the name of Timmermann (Zimmermann). So far nothing can be proven about education and occupation in these years. It is, however, very probable that Carel was connected with his painting early on about his father.

On 1 September 1641 the engagement of Carel with Aeltje Herrmensdr van Hasselt was announced. He is managed for the first time under the name Carel Pietersz Fabritius. Whether the name Fabritius goes back to the term “Faber” (Latin for artisans), as previously assumed, is now questioned. Shortly after the wedding, on September 22, 1641, the young couple moved to Amsterdam.

In the same year, he most likely applied to the Rembrandt studio. There are no documents, however, which can be found there. Only in a recording of the painter and poet Samuel van Hoogstraten from the year 1678 this calls him “my fellow pupil”. This assumption is confirmed by some early works, which are stylistically close to the best works from the Rembrandt studio of this time. It can even be assumed that Carel moved to Amsterdam only because Rembrandt was there and he already had a good reputation as a teacher. However, since Carel was already too old for an apprenticeship at the age of 19, he probably worked there as a studio worker. This would, however, presuppose that he had already achieved a certain mastery.

The years of Amsterdam were marked by serious destiny for the young artist. In 1642 one of his children died shortly after birth. A year later, his wife also died at the birth of her third child, Catrin, who must soon have died, for he returned to Midden-Beemster in the same year with his remaining daughter Aeltje (probably a twin sister of the child who died 1642) back. This child also died soon. Due to its close proximity to Amsterdam, it is possible that Carel would be in contact with Rembrandt in the following years. This is not the case, however. After the death of his apparently wealthy wife Aeltje, Carel suffered severe financial problems in the following years. He had partial debts, which he could not pay off until his death. This also seems to have been a result of missing orders.

In September 1650 he married for the second time. His wife, Agatha van Pruyssen, resident in Amsterdam, came from Delft. As a marriage offer of 22 August 1650, it is to be assumed that it was the wish of his wife to settle in Delft. Strangely enough, two years later, on October 29, 1652, he was admitted to the master’s book of Delft St. Lukasgilde as a painter. This is all the more astonishing as the statutes stipulated that he could only train apprentices and sell pictures as a registered member. Thus it is unclear what he earned his money during this time. Only a few pictures are left of the Delft period. But it was these very late works which made his fame, in which he separated from the art of Rembrandt and pursued new, directional paths. The thesis that Jan Vermeer, who was about ten years younger, was a student of Carel can not be held today.

At the height of his creative power, 32-year-old Carel died when he died on October 12th, 1654, during the explosion of the “t Secreet van Hollandt” tower, the Delft powder mill. He had just been portraying the sexton of the Oude Kerk of Delft. Many of the Master’s works, still in the studio, were certainly lost.

Carel Fabritius can be regarded as the most important painter, who came from the circle of Rembrandt. He already achieved a mastery with his early works, which hardly followed his model. Many of these early works were not for a long time considered Rembrandt’s own works. In the course of time, however, Carel succeeded, in contrast to most other painters of the Rembrandt circle, to break away from this model. He dealt extensively with questions of color and perspective. He broke away from the prevailing darkness of the Rembrandt school and sat on brighter and friendlier colors, which predominated mainly in the background of his pictures. The last works testify to an extraordinary creativity and show little similarity to the early works. Why Carel was so distant from the style of his model is not known, but he may have received a variety of inspirations by the fact that at that time Delft exercised a great attraction to talented painters such as Gerard Terborch, Jan Steen, and Paulus Potter, who influenced each other And role model for existing and subsequent painter generations.

The work of Carel Fabritius is not very large. Many of the works attributed to him have not been signed and have been claimed for him only on the basis of stylistic criticism. The following list contains all the works that are today regarded as safe or most likely to be caricatured by Carel.