The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
The scene depicts Dr. Nicolaes Tulp explaining the muscles of the arm in a glimpse of early modern medicine
Anatomy lessons were quite fashionable at the time. The body would have belonged to a criminal, and public dissections took place once a year at the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons
The detail and expressions are captivating. It reminds of a modern photo, and in fact the people in the painting probably paid to be included in the selfie (with the exception of the corpse, of course )
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More about The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
The detail in the arm has been questioned. How would the then 26 year old Rembrandt know how to paint such a thing with any accuracy? It turns out more than one group has looked into this, and in 2006 researchers recreated the scene with an actual corpse to look for discrepancies.
The star of the painting was Aris Kindt, whod been executed by hanging earlier the same day for armed robbery.
A novel about the scene: http://www.amazon.com/The-Anatomy-Lesson-A-Novel/dp/0385538367
The painting at the Mauritshuis, The Hague:
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