The Anatomy Lesson

The Anatomy Lesson

A Novel

Book - 2014 | First edition
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"Set in seventeenth-century Holland, an engrossing historical novel that brilliantly imagines the complex story behind one of Rembrandt's most famous paintings commissioned by a prominent Amsterdam medical guild, The Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp was one of Rembrandt's first paintings to gain public notice. The novel opens on the morning of the medical dissection, and, as they prepare for that evening's big event, it follows several characters: a one-handed coat thief called Aris the Kid, who is awaiting his turn at the gallows; the twenty-six-year-old Dutch master himself, who feels a shade uneasy about this assignment; Jan Fetchet, a curio collector who also moonlights as an acquirer of medical cadavers; Flora, the woman pregnant with Aris's child, who hopes to collect her lover's body for a Christian burial before it's too late; Rene Descartes, who attended the dissection in the course of his quest to understand where the human soul resides; and Pia, a contemporary art historian who is examining the painting in the future. As the story builds to its dramatic and inevitable conclusion, the events that transpire throughout the day sway Rembrandt to change his initial composition in a fundamental way. Bringing to life the vivid world of Amsterdam in 1632, The Anatomy Lesson offers a rich slice of history and a textured story by a masterful young writer"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780385538367
Branch Call Number: FIC Siega
Characteristics: x, 271 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jun 27, 2014

Nina Siegal has put together a fascinating historical novel around Rembrandt's first major work, "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp". It gives a vivid description of early seventeenth century Amsterdam, and builds the story around six individuals. I was particularly struck by her portrayal of a dramatic change in Rembrandt's decision as to how he wanted to portray the subject body in the anatomy lesson. An excellent read.

May 27, 2014

I DID NOT ask to cancel a Hold on this!
Please put me on the list!

ChristchurchLib May 25, 2014

"In 1632 Amsterdam, a thief's execution produces a valuable commodity: a cadaver for use by the city's Guild of Surgeons to teach anatomy. As Dr. Nicolaes Tulp performs a public dissection in the presence of an enthralled audience, two observers find their lives forever changed by the experience: Rambrandt van Rijn, who will create a painting based on the event, and Rene Descartes, who seeks to understand the nature of the soul. This evocative novel brings the politics and culture of 17th-century Holland to life while examining the intricate connections between the inhabitants of a chaotic, bustling city." Historical Fiction May 2014 newsletter

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