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Carel Fabritius

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Carel Fabritius

*  1622 Middenbeemster/Niederlande
† 1654 Delft


Carel Fabritius, Rembrandt´s most important student and founding father of the baroque Delft School, was born oldest son of the lay painter Pieter Carelsz., called Fabritius, at Middenbeemster in 1622. Just like his brothers Barent Fabritius and Johannes Fabritius, he also became a painter. Latest research claims that Carel Fabritius, unlike originally assumed, was not active as a carpenter. Even though a source refers to Carel Fabritius as "timmerman", it does not seem to indicate a trade.
In 1641Carel Fabritius married Aeltge Hermansdr. van Hasselt (Velthusius), and was presumably active in Amsterdam soon after their wedding. According to sources, he spent 20 months at the most , the latest until 1st June, 1643 in Amsterdam. During his time there it is very likely that he was active in Rembrandt´s studio. Early works by Carel Fabritius still show traces of Rembrandt´s influence, his “The Raising of Lazarus" was presumably still made in Amsterdam.
After his first wife had died, Carel Fabritius was mentioned in Delft in 1650 for his marriage with Agatha van Pruyssen. He was active there up until his timely death in 1654, it seems, according to documents from these years, that he was not successful financially.
Works by Carel Fabritius, however, show a successful result: the felicitous disentanglement from Rembrandt´s chiaroscuro. Literally, Carel Fabritius has left Rembrandt´s shadow and attained a clearer and brighter style, which becomes particularly obvious in his portraits in front of a light background. His most famous painting, however, does not show a portray of a human being but of an animal: a small gold finch, which he depicted in a striking Realism (today in possession of the Mauritshuis, The Hague).
The oeuvre of Carel Fabritius comprises few paintings only, the lack of signatures make an attribution even more difficult. Drawings cannot be clearly attributed to the painter, either. Despite the small legacy, Carel Fabritius´ clear style that plays with light and color, had so much impact on Delft painting that Jan Vermeer has often been assumed to have been his student. However, there is no clear proof for such a relation.
At a young age Carel Fabritius died in an explosion of a powder magazine in Delft in 1654.