Realistic Portraits - Vicki Sullivan,
Vicki Sullivan, "Walk on the Wild Side," 2022, oil on linen, 93 x 79 cm

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“Walk on the Wild Side”

by Vicki Sullivan

For years, I have been captivated by the painting of “The Goldfinch” by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I visited The Mauritshuis Museum of Art in the Hague that I truly delved into the story behind this masterpiece.

I discovered the tragic fate of Fabritius, who met an untimely death in the explosion of the Delft gunpowder magazine in 1654. This devastating event not only claimed his life but also destroyed a significant portion of the city, including his studio and many of his paintings.

Remarkably, only a handful of his works, including “The Goldfinch,” survived.

Some speculate that the painting itself may be a fragment of a larger piece that miraculously endured the blast.

As I learned more about Fabritius, I couldn’t help but wonder about his influence on other renowned artists of his time, particularly Vermeer, who was painting in Delft during that period.

Could Fabritius be the missing link between Rembrandt and Vermeer?

Inspired by the rich history and symbolism of “The Goldfinch,” I felt compelled to incorporate it into a more contemporary setting.

In my imagination, I envisioned the Goldfinch as a central figure in a modern-day narrative, alongside a model who exudes the enigmatic allure of a character from a Lou Reed song.

Provenance, Honorable Mention, from the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors “Changing perspectives” Members exhibition, 2023

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