Comparing Rembrandt And Eakins 's Anatomy Of Dr. Tulp

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Introduction: Rembrandt and Eakins The similarities, and differences, between Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s Anatomy of Dr. Tulp (1632) and Thomas Eakins’ The Agnew Clinic (1889) are both uncanny and unprecedented. Painted in 1630’s Amsterdam during the Dutch Baroque period, Rembrandt sought to preserve the rare occasion in which a real human body was used as an academic tool in order to prove anatomy theories. On the contrary, Eakins piece was painted in 19th century America during the realist movement to memorialize a retiring professor. However, it is their similarities that make them comparable; they were both commissioned by academic institutions, they both depict a surgery in progress, they both celebrate the careers of notable…show more content…
The subject of the yearly autopsy was always a criminal who had just been executed for their crimes, and autopsies had to be performed immediately due to the time sensitive process of the decaying corpse. Rather morbid in his interpretation of the event, Rembrandt sought to reproduce the curiosity and surprise he witnessed through the use of an asymmetrical pyramid so that no face is hidden. This sort of asymmetry is characteristic of the Baroque period. There is no truer adaptation of a Baroque painting than this. During this time there were great revelations of science which catapulted further interest in the sciences. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp portrays a scientific discovery. As Dr. Beth Harris points out and as seen in Fig. 3, Dr. Tulp’s left hand is moving in a way that would show how the tendons of the dissected hand would work (Smarthistory, 2015). Additionally, Baroque period artists often sought realism in portraits, with an attention to physical details, and a focus on the dramatic including the contrast between light and shadow and the use of rich, deep colors (MindEdge 2.01). A real test of its time, this portrait is almost photo-like in its adaption of realism and the physical detail exemplified through the facial expressions of the onlookers. Furthermore, Rembrandt sought to emphasize the action depicted in this portrait through by almost illuminating the corpse

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