University Health Network - Academy of Medicine Collection
Monotone reproduction print of a painting affixed to heavy paper; depicts a group of seven surgeons looking on as physician Nicolaes Tulp leads an anatomy lesson on a cadaver; text on front in Dutch and French; appears to be removed from frame; embossed line around perimeter of print with wide plai…
Monotone reproduction print of a painting affixed to heavy paper; depicts a group of seven surgeons looking on as physician Nicolaes Tulp leads an anatomy lesson on a cadaver; text on front in Dutch and French; appears to be removed from frame; embossed line around perimeter of print with wide plain border; paper still flexible.
"Rembrandt van Ryn pinoc 1632 // T de Frey f: aquforti 1798 // DEMONSTRATION ANATOMIQUE, // faite par le celebre Medicine Nicolas Tulp. // Profesfeur d'anatomic a Amsterdam, l'An 1683 // le tableau original se trouve au Theatre // anatomique d'Amsterdam."; repeated in Dutch
Storage Room 2005
2005-1-3 Box D
Unit Of Measure
Heavily foxed and yellowed paper; missing minor piece on bottom edge and 1.5 cm tear at upper left edge
Zygmont, Bryon. “Rembrant, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp.” Khan Academy. Accessed February 23, 2017. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/monarchy-enlightenment/baroque-art1/holland/a/rembrandt-the-anatomy-lesson-of-dr-tulp
The original portrait, painted by Dutch Baroque Rembrandt van Rijn in 1632, depicts a group of seven surgeons looking on as physician Nicolaes Tulp leads an anatomy lesson. It was commissioned to hang in the board room of the Guild of Surgeons, a group that Tulp had become a reader of three years before. Tulp is shown as the only man wearing a hat, showing his elevated position over his pupil, as he demonstrates how arm muscles are attached to the body using forceps. He was known to give theory lessons twice a week in Amsterdam with one public autopsy a year being conducted. The painting shows the 1632 autopsy that used the body of a criminal, an executed thief named Adriaen het Kint as their cadaver. The surgeon in the centre towards the back holds a sheet of paper that lists the names of all the men in participating in the lesson, many of whom would have paid for the honor of being included in the composition.
Though it was one of Rembrandt’s earlier works, The Anatomy Lesson remains one of his most well-known paintings; the skill is evident in the expressive, recognizable faces of the surgeons and the dynamic contrast between light and dark. Rembrandt does, however, some artistic liberties, particularly as the surgeon would have begun with opening the chest cavity in an autopsy as opposed to beginning with an arm.
This was also one of the first painting that Rembrandt signed with his forename as opposed to RHL which he had used on previous ones, likely showing his increasing confidence in his artistic abilities.