This 365-year-old painting of a tiny bird has become one of the most popular of its time and is one of the most celebrated paintings of Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.
Carel Fabritius (1622-54) trained in Rembrandt’s studio and later moved to the same hometown of Vermeer – where he died, tragically young in a gunpowder explosion, which took out a quarter of the city, along with his studio and many of his paintings.
This small charming painting, on a wooden panel, depicts a goldfinch chained to its perch on its feeding-box, set against a whitewashed wall. This is the very painting that inspired the author Donna Tartt’s globally acclaimed bestseller, The Goldfinch, which won the 2014 Pulitzer price for fiction. The film of the book is due to be released this autumn. The goldfinch is an intelligent bird and sings beautifully, especially the males. They were very popular pets and often appear in 17th Century Dutch paintings depicting captive love.
David Henty’s Goldfinch is available to purchase through Cloud Gallery Fine Art Worthing, Chichester and Brighton.