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Carel Fabritius, Young Man in a Fur Cap

Key facts
Full title A Young Man in a Fur Cap and a Cuirass (probably a Self Portrait)
Artist Carel Fabritius
Artist dates 1622 - 1654
Date made 1654
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 70.5 × 61.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1924
Inventory number NG4042
Location Room 22
Collection Main Collection
Young Man in a Fur Cap
Carel Fabritius

This portrait is one of Carel Fabritius’s final works, made in the last year of his short life. He was apprenticed to Rembrandt between 1641 and 1643 and is generally considered one of his most talented pupils.

Although it is impossible to be sure – no documented likeness of Fabritius exists – this is almost certainly a self portrait. The intensity of the gaze and the posture are reminiscent of a series of earlier self portraits made by Rembrandt and his other pupils. The costume he wears, including a soldier’s breastplate, also fits in with this tradition: Rembrandt, for example, painted himself as a soldier in the 1630s.

The fact that it was a self portrait probably wasn’t considered important at the time. Images of personality types or characters in different professions, known as tronies, were popular and artists would use themselves as models to paint from.

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