The Goldfinch

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Het puttertje, is a 1654 animal painting by Carel Fabritius of a chained goldfinch. It is an oil painting on panel. The work belongs to the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands. The painting is a trompe-l’œil of a European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) on top of its feeder that is attached to the wall.

The feeder consists of two half rings and a blue container. The bird is sitting on the top ring, to which it is chained by its foot. The painting is signed “C FABRITIVS 1654” at the bottom.

In the 17th century, goldfinches were popular pets because they could be trained to draw water from a bowl with a miniature bucket. The Dutch title of the painting pertains to the bird’s nickname puttertje, which refers to this custom and translates literally as ‘little weller’

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