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The Cover
January 21, 1998

Two Old Men Disputing

JAMA. 1998;279(3):177. doi:10.1001/jama.279.3.177

Wars, plagues, and politics aside, it is not without reason that the 17th century has been called "golden." It was, after all, the age of Caravaggio, of Kepler and Scarlatti; it was the age of Galileo and the Carracci, of Monteverdi and Frescobaldi, of Milton, El Greco, and Murillo; it was the age of Reni, Bernini, Ribera, Sir Christopher Wren, and Thomas Willis; of Sydenham, Cervantes, Praetorius, Terborch, and Descartes; of Hals, Hudson, Newton, Schütz, and Inigo Jones; of Rubens, Velázquez, and Van Dyck; and of Moliere, Bacon, Huygens, Johnson (Ben), and Purcell. But of all the roster, none were greater, nor had greater effect on medicine and art, respectively, than William Harvey and Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669). They epitomized the qualities that are the foundation of all science and art, whether on the canvas or in the laboratory or at the bedside: keen observation, faithfulness to nature, and truth in reporting. Coincidentally, Rembrandt's Two Old Men Disputing (cover ) belongs to the same year, 1628, that Harvey published De motu cordis. The one was a mature investigator publishing the results of years of research, the other a brash young man testing his calling.

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