In 1654 Fabritius painted the Goldfinch on a small wooden panel measuring just 33.5 by 22.8 cm. On October 12th of the same year, he died (only 32 years old) when an accidental explosion of a gunpowder magazine destroyed a quarter of the Dutch city Delft including his home and studio. About a dozen of his works survived including this one.
In 2014 Dona Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel The Goldfinch in which the main character -Theodore Decker- survives a terrorist attack on the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the aftermath he takes this small painting by Fabricius with him, hence the title of the novel. In an interview with The Telegraph Tartt claims:
“I didn’t know Fabritius had died in the explosion. I didn’t know this painting had a history of disaster behind it. It all fit together in ways I could never have imagined. When coincidences like that start happening, you know the muses are at your side.”