The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is a 1632 oil painting on canvas by Rembrandt housed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is pictured explaining the musculature of the arm to medical professionals.
The event can be dated to 31 January 1632: the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons, of which Tulp was official City Anatomist, permitted only one public dissection a year, and the body would have to be that of an executed criminal.
Anatomy lessons were a social event in the 17th century, taking place in lecture rooms that were actual theaters, with students, colleagues and the general public being permitted to attend on payment of an entrance fee. The spectators are appropriately dressed for this social occasion.
Rembrandt's image is a fiction; in a typical anatomy lesson, the surgeon would begin by opening the chest cavity and thorax because the internal organs there decay most rapidly.