THE ANATOMY LESSON

     Signed and dated: Rembrandt fe 1632. Nicolaes Pieterszoon Tulp (1593-1674) was the first anatomy doctor of the Surgery Guild of Amsterdam. In January 1632 he presented a public lecture about the physiology of the arm, on the corpse of an executed criminal. The young Rembrandt, who just moved from Leyden to Amsterdam, was entrusted with the task to paint this event. One of the six persons grouped around the body (there are no physicians among them) should hold a table with the names of all persons shown on the painting. This table was overpainted at a later time. A seventh person was also added later, either by Rembrandt himself or by one of his pupils. Tip: Point to the stamps with the mouse index for more information.

N. Korea, 1983. Rembrandt, Dr. Tulp Demonstrating the Anatomy of the Arm (detail). Gambia, 1993. Rembrandt, Dr. Tulp Demonstrating the Anatomy of the Arm. Sc. 1482.

      The above souvenir sheet was issued by Gambia in 1993, as part of a set of eight stamps and two sheets.

THE NIGHT WATCH

     Signed and dated: Rembrandt f 1642. Exposed in Amsterdam at Rijksmuseum, this is the most famous of Rembrand's works of art. More accurately titled The Shooting Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, it portrays the bustling activity of a military company, gathered behind its leaders, preparing for a parade or shooting contest. In departing from the customary static mode of painting rows of figures for the corporate portrait, Rembrandt achieved a powerful dramatic effect. Despite the popular conception that the painting was rejected by those who commissioned it, and led to a decline in Rembrandt's reputation and fortune, it was actually well received.
    The painting has a dramatic history. Because it was moved from place to place, it was cut in order to fit between two doors. In the process it lost 30 cm (0.12") of its original height and 40 cm of its width (30 cm from the left and 10 cm from the right). For this reasons two men and a child disappeared from the left and a part the drum on the right was cut away as well.
    The presence of two glittering girls in the middle of the composition (the one in foreground has a cock suspended at her belt) stayed enigmatic for generations of art specialists. Maybe these are simply children, who were dressed quite unusually at that time. (Source: Klassiker der Kunst, Rembrandt. Rizoli Editore, Mailand, 1969. Scientific addendum: Paolo Lecaldano)

Rwanda, 1977. Rembrandt, The Night Watch.

     The souvenir sheet presented above was issued by Rwanda in 1977, commemorating the Amphilex 77 exhibition. Labeled in French: Rembrandt. La ronde de nuit.

REMBRANDT'S ETCHINGS

     For Rembrandt, drawing and etching were as important as painting. Some 1,400 drawings, recording a wide range of outward and inner visions, are attributed to him, most of them made for their own sake rather than as preparatory studies for paintings or prints. Because they were made for Rembrandt's private use, the majority of them are not signed. Rembrandt's etchings were widely renowned even during his lifetime. He exploited the etching process for its unique potential, using scribbling strokes to produce extraordinarily expressive lines. In combination with etching he employed the drypoint needle, achieving special effects with the burr in his mature graphic work

The Netherlands. Rembrandt. Farmer Wearing High Cap. Sc. B291. The Netherlands. Rembrandt. Young Tobias with Angel. Sc. B292. The Netherlands. Rembrandt. Self-portrait of 1639. Sc. B295. The Netherlands. Rembrandt. Persian Wearing Fur Cap. Sc. B293. The Netherlands. Rembrandt. Old Blind Tobias. Sc. B294.

The set above was issued by the Netherlands post in 1956, in order to commemorate the 350th birth anniversary of Rembrandt. 

Background: Rembrandt, Self-portrait, Signed Rembrandt f. 1640. The National Gallery, London, UK.

Created 08/31/00. Revised: 12/24/06.
Copyright   2000 - 2007 by Victor Manta, Switzerland
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