Anatomy lessons were a social event in the 17th century, taking place in lecture rooms that were actual theaters, with students, physicians and the general public permitted to attend on payment of an entrance fee. Rembrandt was only twenty-six years of age when he was commissioned to paint the anatomy lesson given by Dr Nicolaes Tulp of Amsterdam in January 1632. Newly arrived in Amsterdam, this was his first major commission.
The city of Leiden is Rembrandt’s birthplace, and a celebration was organized to honor the 350th anniversary of his birth on 15 July 2019. This included a historical reenactment of the Anatomy Lesson. This series includes images taken from that reenactment, performed by volunteers from Leiden.