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Art imitates life in a real explosion that almost destroyed The Goldfinch

Laura Cumming’s new book tells how the work by Carel Fabritius, the Dutch artist who died in the blast in Delft, reveals eerie parallels with Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch began its strange life almost 370 years ago; a delicate, eye-catching study in oils of a small captive bird. It is one of the few surviving works of Carel Fabritius, a Dutch artist of the Delft School. In fact The Goldfinch is one of just a few works that this pupil of Rembrandt is thought to have completed during his short life. Yet over the past decade, since the publication of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel of the same name, it has become one of the world’s best known works of art. Now fresh research into the life of Fabritius, carried out for a new book, has revealed an astonishing fact. The painting, famous for coming through the fictional, lethal museum bomb blast that kickstarts Tartt’s plot, turns out to have also survived a devastating explosion in real life. Continue reading...

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