CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Carel Fabritius (1622-1654): das Werk

Exhibition: 29 January - 5 June 2005

PLEASE NOTE: The exhibition has been extended to 5 June, after announcement of a closing date in May.


Kornelia von Berswordt-Walrabe*, Frits Duparc*, Peter van der Ploeg*, Gero Seelig* and Ariane van Suchtelen*.


Mauritshuis, The Hague

Museum press release, January 2005

In collaboration with the Mauritshuis The Hague, the Staatliches Museum Schwerin for the first time shows the complete known oeuvre of Fabritius, which consists of 14 paintings. His paintings, scattered over the world, are highlights of the collections of which they are a part of. This exhibition affords the singular opportunity of a synopsis of paintings which feature in collections in Boston, Los Angeles, London, Moscow, Warsaw, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Munich, Hannover and Schwerin.

The young master painter

On October 12, 1654 the municipal arsenal in Delft exploded. A large part of the city including the studio of Carel Fabritius was devastated and the 32 year old painter was killed. Today, only a small number of the master’s paintings survive. Due to the extraordinary pictorial quality of his paintings, Carel Fabritius figures among the great masters of 17th century Holland in spite of his modest oeuvre. Had he been granted more time, he might now be revered as highly as Rembrandt and Vermeer.

The rediscovery

In the year 1654, shortly before his tragic death, Fabritius created the painting the Sentry today in Schwerin. In 1807 the painting was carried off from Schwerin to Paris by Napoleon, where it was restored and exhibited. In Paris the signature and date were discovered: “C. FABRITIVS 1654“. At this time, the master was completely unknown. It was as a result of this discovery that the Schwerin canvas became the guideline for all research and the yardstick of paintings subsequently found. In 1815 the paintings taken by the French returned to Mecklenburg, among them the Sentry.


Almost half of these works have been attributed to Fabritius only after the publication of Christopher Brown’s catalogue raisonée in 1981 and are presented together for the first time in the exhibition catalogue. The catalogue includes a comprehensive essay describing the life and work of the artist, a text on his means of composition as well as entries on every single painting. All paintings are illustrated in full colour. His connection to Rembrandt is assessed and the influence on the Delft School descussed. The book is published in English, German and Dutch.
Frederik J. Duparc, with contributions by Gero Seelig and Ariane van Suchtelen, Carel Fabritius, 1622-1654, The Hague (Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis), Schwerin (Staatliches Museum) and Zwolle (Waanders Publishers) 2004
ISBN 90 400 9897 6 (Dutch hardbound edition)
ISBN 90 400 8989 2 (English hardbound edition)
ISBN 90 400 9029 7 (German softbound edition)
ISBN 90 400 8968 8 (Dutch softbound edition)


Exhibition and catalogue were made possible thanks to the substantial support of the following institutions: Kulturstiftung der Länder, gefördert mit Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, Ostdeutsche Sparkassenstiftung in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern gemeinsam mit der Sparkasse Schwerin, Embassy of the Netherlands and Freunde des Staatlichen Museums Schwerin. It rests under the high patronage of the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Dr. Harald Ringstorff.

Other venue

The Hague, Mauritshuis (24 September 2004-9 January 2005).

Related events

Symposium Carel Fabritius (1622-1654): das Werk (28 May 2005, Schwerin)