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Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)

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Written by   10
9 months ago
Topics: History, Freewrite, Write, Art, Dream, ...

At 10:30 am on October 12, 1654, the city of Delft, located in the west of the Netherlands, was shaken by a massive explosion. The city had not experienced such a disaster since the great fire of 1536. The explosion had taken place in the city's arsenal, and by the time it was over, much of Delft was destroyed, with many injured or killed. Among the dead was a young painter who was on his way to the top of his profession: Carel Fabritius.

He was in his own workshop with one of his students, Mathys Spoors, at the time of the explosion, perhaps working on a painting when the terrible hum, which he couldn't understand, filled the workshop. But the disaster that ended his life had destroyed this painting, which had not yet dried, and many others he had produced over the past ten years. Adding to his unfinished career his paintings, which were destroyed by the explosion, are about a dozen works left. However, even this is enough to give Carel Fabritius a respected place in the history of art. In addition, his influence shaped a school of painting in Delft, which included such names as Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch.

Carel Fabritius was born on 27 February 1622 in Middenbeemster. His father, a teacher in a village school, is also an amateur painter, and Carel took his first painting lessons from his father. It is known that he worked as a carpenter with his brother Barent before the 1640s. He used his surname, which was also used by his father from time to time, from the Latin word faber, which means manual worker and mostly describing jewelers, construction workers and carpenters, since 1641. However, carpentry, which gives expression to his surname, was not a profession he would pursue later in his short life. While still working as a carpenter, he started working with a painter as a side job.

 At the beginning of the 1640s, probably between 1641 and 43, Carel was in the workshop of the great master of the time, Rembrandt, with his brother Barent, so painting went beyond being a side job for him. It would not be wrong to say that the main factor in the two brothers' inclination towards painting in such a consistent way was their father, who was an amateur painter. Fabritius, who draws attention as the most talented and successful student of Rembrandt, adopted a style that reflects the influence of his master in his early works. What particularly impresses him is Rembrandt's sophisticated method of defining form by the variation of light tones, and his meticulousness in imparting the texture of objects. The earliest known painting, The Resurrection of Lazarus (c. 1643), now in the Warsaw National Museum, reveals Rembrandt influences.

 The 1640s is a decade in which Fabritius completed his education, as well as one of the most important painters of 17th century Dutch painting, and furthermore, one of the most important painters in the history of art, and then began to become active as a painter. In 1650 he settled in the city of Delft and lived first in Oude Delft, then moved to his workshop on Doelenstraat, near the municipal arsenal. As a gifted student of Rembrandt, he soon rose to the position of a commissioned painter in the city. In 1652 he was registered with the painters' guild (the guild of saint Luke) of Delft. Fabritius achieved his first fame with his murals in which he used an illusory perspective.

 Another painting of the artist, dated to 1654, is the Self-Portrait, which is in the National Gallery in London today. The artist must have studied himself in the mirror. The figure ¾ placed in front of the sky, a harbinger of a storm, is from the front. He is wearing a military suit. According to some researchers, this garment, complete with a metal belt extending from the shoulder and a fur hat, means being ready to defend the hard-won independence of the homeland. In the 1620s and 1630s, Rembrandt also worked on self-portraits in this style. On the other hand, the quality of this garment, which does not belong to the fashion of any time period, gives the person who is portrayed with it an air of a hero beyond time. Perhaps preferred only as a sign of vanity, military clothing is an extension of the tradition of painting in fictitious costumes. His unshaven face and messy hair contrast with this military outfit. This self-portrait, which should have been taken shortly before the explosion, almost foretells the artist's unfortunate fate in the near future, with the dark, cloudy sky in the background.

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Written by   10
9 months ago
Topics: History, Freewrite, Write, Art, Dream, ...
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