A View of Delft

This view shows part of the Dutch town of Delft. It is taken from the corner of the Oude Langendijk and Oosteinde, looking roughly north west: in the centre is the Nieuwe Kerk and just to the left of it, in the distance, the town hall; both of these look much the same today. On the left, is the booth of a musical instrument vendor, with, in the foreground, a viola da gamba and a lute.

The function and original display of the painting have been much debated. The picture may have formed part of a perspective box or peepshow. This would account for its exaggerated perspective, and the cutting-off of the foreshortened viola da gamba in the foreground. Such a perspective box probably had a curved back onto which the canvas was mounted. Fabritius was interested in perspective and illusionism, and is described in four documents as having made perspective boxes.

Key facts

Artist dates
1622 - 1654
Full title
A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller's Stall
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
15.5 x 31.7 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Presented by The Art Fund, 1922
Inventory number
Location in Gallery