Thunderclap available to buy at Museum Bookstore


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'Writing about 17th-century Dutch art is tough. The subject matter is rich — plenty to write about — but finding words to describe and evoke the silent, simple, humble pleasures of looking at Fabritius, Hobbema or Vermeer is a stern test of any art critic. Cumming passes it gloriously in this fascinating amalgam of insightful art appreciation and a haunting personal story' - The Times

A beautifully illustrated new memoir of a life in art, a father and daughter, and what a shared love of a painting can come to mean.

On the morning of 12 October 1654, a gunpowder explosion devastated the Dutch city of Delft. The thunderclap was heard over seventy miles away.

Among the fatalities was the painter Carel Fabritius, dead at thirty-two, leaving only his haunting masterpiece The Goldfinch and barely a dozen known paintings. The explosion that killed him also buried his reputation, along with answers to the mysteries of his life and career. What happened to Fabritius before and after this disaster is just one of the discoveries in a book that explores the relationship between art and life, interweaving the lives of Laura Cumming, her Scottish painter father, who also died too young, and the great artists of the Dutch Golden Age.

A Sunday Times Art Book of the Year.

  • Author: Laura Cumming
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Date published:  July 2023
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781784744526
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 15.4 cm

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