Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rembrandt and The Anatomy of Dr. Tulb

On January 16, 1632, Dutch master painter Rembrandt, H, van Rijn attends a public lecture of physician Nicolaes Tulp, where the body of the executed mugger Adriaan Adriaanszoon was disected. In the consequence of this experience Rembrandt painted his famous picture ' Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp'.

Rembrandt, H, van Rijn is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative. Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp was created in 1632 in the early age of Rembrandt's mastership as an artist and was one of Rembrandt’s first major commissions and is representative of his later works. The oil painting depicts Dr. Nicolaes Tulp explaining the musculature of the arm to other medical professionals. Remarkably, some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions to be included in the painting. The event can be dated to 16 January 1632 and lasted for approximately five days: the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons, of which Tulp was official City Anatomist, permitted only one public dissection a year, and the body would have to be that of an executed criminal. Twice a week a leading physician gave the Amsterdam surgeons a theory lesson. One element of this extra training was attendance at practical demonstrations in the anatomy theatre in order to gain a greater understanding of human anatomy. Rembrandt made the lecture a “dramatic” event and incorporated much tension into the portrait through gaze and body position...