Their distinctive white collars are a symbol of prestige and wealth in the seventeenth century when the mercantile class saw an incline in the Dutch society. Dr. Tulip seems like he is ready to explain some clinical phenomena and all the men around him are eager to hear and view the miracle of medical science. Simultaneously, the body of the dead is also shown in light, but his face has blurring effects so to depict lack of life. Yet, life is evident on the faces of these doctors who are surrounding it, but their own bodies are well hidden underneath the cloaks, which demonstrate their moral and realistic presence in the operation room.
These men have almost similar type of facial hair, curvy moustache and triangular beard in flaming red colour so to depict the social status equality of elite and literate class in the Dutch society. At the far end there is an open book probably of medicine shedding light on theories of anatomy. However, the book is painted under dark shades to show the negligence of society towards investigation and new research. Few surgeons seem to be gazing at the opened pages of the book so to relate the practical dissection with the relevant theory and that makes the portrait more superlative in its realistic manner.
Dr. Tulip is painted from a central view with the theme of clinical operation. The other doctors are placed in a geometrical manner where three men are leaning in for a closer look. They are in the shape of a triangle, the other two men on the opposite side of Dr. Tulip make a curve and the two distant men at the back form a simple straight line (34-35, Pescio). The purpose was to show the room full of learners of science, which was not the actual practice in the seventeenth century. Top of Form
The painting offers an insight on how with the course of time science will take over the medieval notions of incurability, medical advancements and human survival.