The Bull

Paulus Potter
Article nr
This high gloss ceramic tile of The Bull by Paulus Potter has a size of 20 x 15 cm. With the easelback on the backside of the tile you can hang it on your wall or stand it upright. This product is a unique way to display The Bull in your interior.

All our tiles are handmade in our studio in Amsterdam.

The Bull

In 1632 the 25-year-old Rembrandt gets the most important commission of his young career. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the man with the black hat, asks him to paint a group portrait. Tulp gave lessons to Amsterdam surgeons, doctors who carried out simple operations. Once a year he dissected a cadaver in front of his pupils. Lessons in human anatomy were open to the public and aroused great interest. They were held in the anatomical theatre in the weighing house on the nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam. Group portraits were usually a stiff affair, composed of a row of heads. But not in Rembrandt's case, he added action and movement and turned it into theatre. He had each surgeon react in a different way; bending over, looking at the dissected arm or at the book on the right or staring straight at us.

Rembrandt placed his group portrait in a bright light which shines directly on the heads in front and on the white cadaver, which does literally comes under the spotlight. It's the body of the notorious criminal, Aris Kindt, who had been hung shortly before. However realistic the scene might look, it's not completely veracious.

In fact, Tulp must have started his lesson by dissecting the abdomen as the intestines are the first to decay. Maybe Rembrandt thought that such an open belly would be too distracting. Dr. Tulp demonstrates the workings of the hand, using the forceps to lift up a bundle of muscles and tendons attached to the fingers. He makes a reinforcing gesture with his left hand. Rembrandt made his breakthrough in Amsterdam with this impressive group portrait. In the course of the 1630's he became the city's most prominent portrait painter.

Paulus Potter (1606-1669), The Bull 1647, Oil on canvas, 169.5x216.5cm, Collection Mauritshuis.