11 April, 2016

‪The anatomy lesson : a novel by Nina Siegal‬

Amsterdam 1632, and Rembrandt has been commissioned by the Amsterdam Surgeon's Guild to paint a group portrait. This results in a painting called 'The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp'. The author imagines the story behind the painting. What was the life of the dead man in the painting? What were the stories of all the other characters involved? I enjoyed how seven points of view were used to tell the tale.

"The Body" is Aris Kindt, we learn of his life, how he came to be hanged and his body used for the dissection..

"The Hand" is the surgeon who is to perform the public anatomy lesson.

"The Eye" is Rembrandt who has to think of an effective way to portray the event.

"The Heart" is Flora who is carrying his child, she is trying to save him, or at least claim his body for burial.

"The Mouth" is Jan Fletchet, curio dealer and the procurer of the body for the dissection.


"The Mind" is Descartes. the philosopher who ponders the existence of the soul.


Pia, art restoration expert discovers a mystery while restoring the painting, 500 years after its commission.

The author of this book won a grant that allowed her to live in Amsterdam for a year. This is a meticulously researched, richly detailed historical novel about the day-to-day life and philosophical debates of 17th-century Amsterdam. Intelligent, imaginative, and thought-provoking, this is an intriguing read.

Author: Nina Siegal

Recommended by Anita S, Blockhouse Bay Library

Anita S reads widely and eclectically, but most often random non-fiction fact books, good general and teen fiction, (often dystopian future types), fantasy and sci-fi if they cover a new angle on something, kids books and... actually she'll take a look at most stuff. Books are great! She also loves art and illustration..

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