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Carel Fabritius: 'Young Man in a Fur Cap'

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Although no documented portrait of Fabritius is known, it is generally accepted that this is a self portrait. The sitter wears a steel breastplate and backplate. Fabritius's teacher Rembrandt painted a number of portraits of sitters with a breastplate or gorget in the late 1620s and 1630s, but there is no indication that Rembrandt had any military connection.

They were instead part of a tradition of painting sitters in fanciful costume, of which Fabritius must have been aware. In contrast to most other portraits of the time, with their plain backgrounds, the artist here places himself starkly against a cloudy sky. The picture was painted in 1654, the year Fabritius was killed in the explosion of the municipal powder magazine in his native Delft.

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