The shadow is delimited by a clearly defined line against the cadaver’s chalk-white skin. In the background architectonical elements loom, clustered columns and gothic-styled striving arches, that lead one’s thoughts towards the space of a church. Anatomical spectacles of this kind were often given in chapels in which wooden structures reminiscent of an amphitheatre were housed.
It is as if the emerging “modern” science celebrates its triumph, or with the words of Dr. Tulp, “distil[s] truth from shadow” in the house of God. The ascending spirit of the clustered columns is conjoined with the descent towards the flesh of the world manifested by the corpse of Klint.
Excerpt from "Note on Rembrandt" by Staffan Lundgren.
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