Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 annotations associated with Van Rijn, Rembrandt Harmenszoon

Summary:

In this famous group portrait, seven figures, situated in the anatomical theatre of the Surgeon’s Guild in Amsterdam in 1632, gaze intently in various directions--several look towards the cadaver of Aris Kindt, a criminal recently executed for robbery; others towards the 39-year old surgeon and appointed "city anatomist" (Praelator Anatomie) Nicolaes Tulp; several figures seem to look towards the large text at the bottom right of the painting, possibly the authoritative anatomical atlas by Andreas Vesalius, De Humani Coporius Humani [Fabric of the Human Body] published in 1543; several figures gaze out towards the viewer. Tulp himself appears to look beyond the guild members to an audience elsewhere in the anatomical theatre.

Only the left forearm and hand of the cadaver have been dissected. With forceps in his right hand, Tulp holds the muscle which, when contracted, causes the fingers to flex (flexor digitorum superficialis). Tulp’s own left hand position seems to demonstrate this movement. The figure farthest from the cadaver appears to imitate this position. The palour and stiffness of the cadaver contrasts with the intensity and colour on the faces of the onlookers, and with the living hands of Tulp the dissector.

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Bertman, Sandra
Co-Editors

Primary Category: Visual Arts / Painting/Drawing

Genre: Oil on canvas

Summary:

A timeless, archetypal moment of the passing of one generation on to another. While Joseph and his Egyptian Wife, Asenath serenely look on, the aged, nearly blind Jacob on his deathbed breaks with tradition in blessing the youngest grandson first. In the Biblical account (Genesis: 48:8-20), the displeased Joseph interferes, trying to move his father’s hand from Ephraim to the dark-haired Manasseh--"This is the first-born; put your hand upon his head." "I know it, my son, I know it," replies the dignified patriarch, continuing to bless the younger angelic-looking, chosen child, Ephraim, as if moved by prophetic intuition, "set[ting] Ephraim before Manasseh."

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Bathsheba

Van Rijn, Rembrandt Harmenszoon

Last Updated: Jan-25-1999
Winkler, Mary
Annotator

Primary Category: Visual Arts / Painting/Drawing

Genre: Oil on canvas

Summary:

Rembrandt painted this interpretation of the story of David and Bathsheba in II Samuel: 11 in 1654. Although the Biblical narrative focuses on David and his relation to his people and his God, Rembrandt focuses on Bathsheba and her quandary. Rembrandt conflated two parts of the narrative to convey his message. Bathsheba is simultaneously completing her bath and contemplating David's summons--the summons that will lead to tragedy.

Many critics, particularly feminist critics, have commented on the role of the female nude in western art, noting that it is rare to find a representation of a nude woman that renders the woman as a whole person. Rembrandt's Bathsheba is beautiful and haunting--in part because she is a woman thinking. In The Nude, Kenneth Clark paid tribute to this work: "[Bathsheba] is one of those supreme works of art which cannot be forced into any classification . . . Rembrandt can give his Bathsheba an expression of reverie so complex that we follow her thoughts far beyond the moment depicted: and yet these thoughts are indissolubly part of her body, which speaks to us in its own language as truthfully as Chaucer or Burns" (p. 342).

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