"Rembrandt’s painting of the anatomist, Dr. Andreas Tulp, portrays the
habit of anatomy artists of the Renaissance to wear a hat—which they
would not take off, even during dissections. In doing so, they
demonstrated their independence from the social norms of their time.
For more than fifteen years, my physical self-conception has been
linked with a black hat. Since then, the question as to why I wear a
hat has trivialized many a discussion. Many times people insinuate that
I wear a hat to emulate Joseph Beuys. Any comparison with the object
artist, however, will fall on corpses should not all of a sudden become
useless things with deaf
ears—my hat has nothing to do with him. The person who seems to be more
in line with my hat fad is the eccentric Englishman and contemporary of
Goethe, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), who advocated as lawyer and
philosopher that death. Nor is my hat a brand mark, it symbolizes
something entirely different. I am a democrat and individualist with
all my heart. The strength of our Western democracy lies within
the promotion of individualism, based on the maxim, "live and let live."
Gunther von Hagens
Rembrandt Harmenzoon van Rijn: "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolas Tulp"