The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) by Rembrandt



A famous 1632 painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrant Hermanszoon van Rijn depicting Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1593-1674), a Dutch surgeon and mayor of Amsterdam well known for his upstanding moral character. Tulp is pictures on the right wearing the wide-brimmed hat; the other characters would have been notable doctors and medical professionals who paid commissions to be included in the work. The scene is traced back to January 16, 1632; at this time in history, the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons allowed for one (and only one) public dissection per year - the body being dissected would have been that of an executed criminal; in this case, that of criminal Aris Kindt (alias Adriaan Adriaanszoon) who was convicted of armed robbery and hanged earlier that very same day. Tulp, acting as City Anatomist, performed the dissection publicly. During those times, such public dissections were social events, taking place in large theaters. Anyone who paid a fee would have been admitted entrance, and the show was not limited simply to medical professionals but available also to the general public.

Born July 15, 1606 in the city of Leiden, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch painter and etcher who would become known as one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European history, and the most important in Dutch history. Religious matters and scenes come up often in Rembrandt's works, and his own personal life was fraught with the religious tension of the Reformation; his mother was a Roman Catholic, and his father belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. As a youth Rembrandt attended Latin school, but had a much more fervent interest in painting, which led to him being apprenticed to a Leiden history painter by the name of Jacob van Swanenburgh, for three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship to Pieter Lastman (for six months), Rembrandt eventually opened up his own workshop/studio in 1624 (or 1625), and soon after began accepting students. In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by Dutch statesman Constantijn Huygens, the father of Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens; Constantijn would procure important commissions for Rembrandt from the court of The Hague, and the exposure led to Prince Frederik Hendrik continuing to buy Rembrandt paintings until 1646. Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631, and there would enjoy tremendous success as a portraitist, and would eventually marry Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of a familiar art dealer. After awhile they settled in the upscale 'Breestraat,' what was then becoming the Jewish quarter, and here Rembrandt would find models for his Old Testament scenes. However, the mortgage for this residence led him to financial problems later in life. Their marriage suffered many difficulties, with three of their four children dying shortly after birth, and Saskia dying a year after the third child's death. Rembrandt would eventually have a daughter, Cornelia, by Hendrickje Stoffels, who was originally his maid, though they were not married by church law at the time and as a result Hendrickje was banned from receiving communion by the Dutch Reformed Church. Rembrandt would go on to outlive both Hendrickje as well as his son, Titus, but die a year later in 1669. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery of Westerkerk, a Protestant church in Amsterdam.



Includes a border on all sides to allow for matting and framing.