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The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp


This scene, in which the Doctor jabs

Towards a chalk-white stiff

Is famous. Now they’ve found your dabs:

It makes us think What If?


What if you’d taken up your brush

To paint today’s cadaver,

Would all the watchers keep their hush,

Or would they drool and slaver?


We look at all those startled eyes,

That seem to flinch or wince:

Respectful, full of sheer surprise.

And now they’ve found your prints.


You did do allegorical –

The Senses, one by one;

You also did ‘historical’ –

Europa’s Rape. Old son,


Suppose your Dr. Tulp alive,

And you here with your skill –

Here’s meat for the good Doctor’s knives –

Europa, looking ill.


A bunch of swerve-eyed lunatics

With low or beetling brows

Have knocked Europa, and for six.

And this of course allows


This rambling rant upon your name,

A glimpse inside the May tents.

It’s quite unworthy of your fame.

But then they’ve found your latents.






Click here for a Guardian article









The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Rembrandt’s fingerprints have been discovered.

23 November 2018


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