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Emeritus Artistic Director of The Chicago Humanities Festival, Lawrence Weschler, discusses one of Rembrandt's most famed paintings, "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp", and provides a brief history of anatomical art. Rembrandt's contribution, by way of this painting, embodies several different interpretations that go beyond the scope of what is seen at first glance. Additionally, Rembrant's composition, decisions, and mastery add a unique context to the piece.
In Weschler's comprehensive analysis of this work, connections between various ideas start to emerge. We discover the significance behind the laws of the era, the role our hands play in defining us, the marvel of life in light of another's death, and find influences from the painting in more modern images, like that of Che Guevara after his death in 1967. These thoughts and the dawn of the secular revolution are also examined, alongside the portrayal of Christ that Rembrandt's piece often evokes.