Thursday, 13 November 2014

What's this Rembrandt?

In this art critique we consider Manny's suggestion "The Anatomy Lesson" by Rembrandt. In this oil on canvas dated 1632 we see Doctor Nicolaes Tulp explaining the "musculature of the arm" to other medical professionals.

Basically he had nothing better to do one day, and instead of carving a joint of meat and enjoy a good lunch with his family, he decided to cut a human being instead. He asked a short man living next door to him to volunteer for the experiment by paying him a few pence.

"Will it hurt?" asked the short man.

"No, it is a completely armless procedure!" replied the good doctor.

For good measure he invited a few other doctor friends mainly for amusement, but when they discovered that Rembrandt would also be there painting the whole event, several of the doctors paid good money to be included in the painting. Fortunately for Renbrandt they all looked the same with pointed beards, so he agreed for all of them to be there since he could copy paste their faces over and again. To distinguish Doctor Tulp though, he asked him to wear a hat.

Cutting people up to learn anatomy was a yearly event in Amsterdam, in Holland and this one is dated 16 Januray 1632. Usually an audience attended the event to make notes and learn about different parts of the body. Real blood was used because tomato ketchup had not yet been invented at the time.

As already mentioned, the doctor in question was called Tulp. Originally, his name was Tulip but in one of these operations he accidentally cut his I and was hence known as Tulp.

Since that sad incident he unfortunately was no longer able to tip toe through the tulips, or through anything else for that matter.


8 comments:

  1. Victor, it must have escaped your noticed Good Dr. Tulp has a different collar than the other chaps AND one of those chaps seems to have no beard. HUMM! Your explanations seem perfectly plausible to me---that is an alarming thought!

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    Replies
    1. The thing is Lulu, I was not there at the time because I could not afford the entry fee. But Rembrandt was there and in his rush to copy/paste all the faces on the bodies he accidentally ommitted the beard on the guy on the left. (Although on close examination it looks as if he did in fact have a beard, but the painting was smudged when someone touched it before it got time to dry).

      As for the collars being different, you are quite right that I did not notice that; but that's because I was not there at the time.

      Thanx for being so observant, Lulu. This was a tough challenge from Manny. I hope I get easier assignments to research and critique. Another post about art will be here soon.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. This painting is a bit gruesome, isn't it? Your take on it was funny though! The only "chap" I see without a beard is the dead one!

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    1. You're right Mary. It is very gruesome and quite a challenge set by Manny. Why would Rembrandt want to paint such a scene? And how many copies of the painting did he sell as a souvenir?

      I too can only see the dead man without a beard. Apparently he had a beardotomy.

      God bless.

      Delete
  3. Ah, you posted it. I'm imagining the man on the table is still alive and is going to wake up and find his stomach missing...lol. You see the doctor didn't have any hors d'oeuvres for his guests. The other doctors are looking inside and wondering what wine will best go. (Yuck, that's gross.)

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    1. Oh Manny ... this is even more gruesome than the painting itself.

      God bless.

      Delete
  4. "He asked a short man living next door to him to volunteer for the experiment by paying him a few pence."

    What some people will do with their ("talents") Mt 25:14-30.

    Don't Ya mean "Money" Victor #2?

    Go Figure nowadays!? LOL ;)

    God Bless

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