The Goldfinch (Dutch: Het puttertje) is a painting by the Dutch Golden Age artist Carel Fabritius of a life-size chained goldfinch. Signed and dated 1654, it is now in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands. The work is a trompe-l’œil oil on panel measuring 33.5 by 22.8 centimetres (13.2 in × 9.0 in) that was once part of a larger structure, perhaps a window jamb or a protective cover. It is possible that the painting was in its creator’s workshop in Delft at the time of the gunpowder explosion that killed him and destroyed much of the city.
A common and colourful bird with a pleasant song, the goldfinch was a popular pet, and could be taught simple tricks including lifting a thimble-sized bucket of water. It was reputedly a bringer of good health, and was used in Italian Renaissance painting as a symbol of Christian redemption and the Passion of Jesus.
The Goldfinch is unusual for the Dutch Golden Age painting period in the simplicity of its composition and use of illusionary techniques. Following the death of its creator, it was lost for more than two centuries before its rediscovery in Brussels. It plays a central role in the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and its film adaptation.