Sat for Cornelis de Man's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. 's Gravezande

Date: 
January 1, 1681

Leeuwenhoek sat for Cornelis de Man's group portrait for the surgeon's guild of 's Gravezande's anatomy lesson. He had only the previous year been elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and he was not a member of the guild. He is standing to 's Gravesande's left with his hand over his heart. According to Boitet's Beschryving p. 528, Leeuwenhoek sat om dit werk meer luister bij te zetten, in order to add more luster to the work.

Cornelis de Man (1621-1706) painted this group portrait commissioned by the Delft surgeon's guild in 1681, when Leeuwenhoek was 49. It shows Dr. Cornelis Isaaks 's-Gravesande in the Theatrum Anatomicum on the Verwersdijk poking a cadaver while other members of the surgeon's guild look on, including Dr. Henry d'Acquet in the lower right corner.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Cornelis 's-Gravesande

The original oil painting hangs in the Prinsenhof in Delft.

  • The group of four in the upper left has Anthonij Molijn and Adriaan de Berg above and Johan Junius and Johan Buijscherd below.
  • The group of four in the lower left has Hendrick Annema above and the row of Pieter Hoppestein, Dr. Gerard Durven, and Nicolaar Baron below. I cannot ascertain Dr. Durven's relationship to Leeuwenhoek's friend Paul Durven, who by coincidence had a son he named Gerardus in this same year (DTB Delft inv. 58, folio 263).
  • The man with the blond wig next to Dr. Gravesande is Johan de Geus.
  • The four men on the top row to Gravesande's left are Leeuwenhoek, Jacob Schravelaar, Francois Ketelanus, and Dr. Samuel Gottleiv Scholtzius.
  • The group of four in the lower right are Joan Dijkman, Dr. Abraham Sigusmus Tigurinus, and Gabriel Schrevelius above Dr. Hendrick d'Acquet, who is holding the medallion in the lower right corner.

Leeuwenhoek's nephew and godson, Anthonij de Molijn (1656-1729), son of sister Margriete, is at the top left of the picture. Antonij was a surgeon who trained in Paris and lived in 't Hart on the Voldergracht from 1685 to 1688. He also lived on the Verwersdijk and on the Choorstraat where his father and uncle lived, too.

Hendrik d'Acquet (1632-1706) was a surgeon as well as a member of the city council after 1672, a magistrate for six years, and a mayor for five years between 1690 and 1702. He lived on the Voorstraat (west side) and at Oude Delft 202 and was noted for his cabinet of rarieties. Leeuwenhoek bought his house on the Hippolytusbuurt from d'Acquet's father-in-law Jan Lieftingh.

Houtzager's book De Snijkunst Verbeeld discusses this group portrait as well as the culture of medical investigations of cadavers. He gives short biographical sketches of all of these men.

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