Document Detail

New insight into the enigmatic white cord in Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17996787     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The anatomic accuracy of Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) has been debated in the literature for many years. The white cord that courses along the ulnar aspect of the carpus and small finger of the cadaver in Dr. Tulp's dissection conforms to no normal anatomic structure and is believed to represent an anomalous branch of the ulnar nerve, an artistic error, or a combination of both. After the discovery of an accessory abductor digiti minimi (AADM) during a routine dissection of a late-middle-aged male cadaver, we noted that the course of its tendon over the hypothenar eminence resembled the white cord in the painting. After conducting a detailed literature search and anatomic interpretation of the painting, we established 4 criteria for identifying the white cord. Using these criteria, we evaluated the plausibility of an AADM being represented in the painting. We conclude that an AADM should be considered as a possible explanation for the white cord.
David J Jackowe; Michael K Moore; Andrew E Bruner; John R Fredieu
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of hand surgery     Volume:  32     ISSN:  0363-5023     ISO Abbreviation:  J Hand Surg Am     Publication Date:  2007 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-11-12     Completed Date:  2008-02-06     Revised Date:  2009-06-08    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7609631     Medline TA:  J Hand Surg Am     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1471-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Surgery, University of Hawaii, School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Anatomy, Artistic / history*
Forearm / anatomy & histology
Hand / anatomy & histology
History, 17th Century
Medicine in Art*
Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
Paintings / history*
Tendons / anatomy & histology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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