“The Night Watch”, by Rembrandt, like you’ve never seen it before

Polished Nativity

Updated:05/14/2020 14: 02h

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The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum publishes on its website (www.rijksmuseum.nl) the largest and most detailed photograph of the treasure in his collection, “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt. The high resolution of the image is such that it allows to appreciate the brush strokes of the master and even pigment particles in the painting. The Dutch museum wanted to share this photograph with the public, coinciding with the study of this masterpiece, which was resumed yesterday in the glass chamber, designed by the French architect Jean Michel Wilmotte, and which was installed so that the public could continue in I live the works from July of last year.

Image taken yesterday, where two workers from the Rijksmuseum analyze the painting while maintaining the required safety distance
Image taken yesterday, where two workers from the Rijksmuseum analyze the painting while maintaining the required safety distance – EFE

According Taco Dibbits, director of the Rijksmuseum“The research team that is carrying out the project uses the latest technologies, which take us to limits that were not believed possible. This photograph is a crucial source of information for researchers, and online visitors can use it to admire Rembrandt’s masterpiece in great detail. ”

This hyper-resolution photograph was taken from 528 images spread over 24 rows of 22 snapshots, which were digitally linked with the help of neural networks. The final image is made up of 44.8 gigapixels and the distance between each pixel is 20 micrometers (0.02 mm). This allows scientists to study the painting in detail remotely. The image will also be used to accurately trace any future aging processes that take place in the paint.

Image taken yesterday, where two workers from the Rijksmuseum analyze the painting while maintaining the required safety distance
Image taken yesterday, where two workers from the Rijksmuseum analyze the painting while maintaining the required safety distance – EFE

Back to work

In a Rijksmuseum closed to the public, the investigators resumed yesterday the study of the painting Rembrandt’s largest and its current state. Although work in the glass chamber was interrupted for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team continued to work at home analyzing the research data that had already been collected.

The protocol for working in the glass chamber has been revised to comply with the guidelines established by the government and the National Institute of Public Health and Environment (RIVM). It must be ensured that a minimum physical distance of 1.5 meters is maintained and that no more than two people are working on the paint at the same time.

Dutch museum workers, during preliminary studies of the project
Dutch museum workers, during preliminary studies of the project – RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM

The second phase of the project, painting restoration, has been rescheduled due to the pandemic. The initial plan was to start after the summer of this year, but this is no longer feasible. Has been postponed to early 2021. The project budget is three million euros.

Rijksmuseum expected to reopen June 1, but its usual capacity of 10,000 visitors per day will be reduced to 2,000 to allow social distancing.

The painting was transferred from the Rijksmuseum to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in August 1898.
The painting was transferred from the Rijksmuseum to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in August 1898 – RIJKSMUSEUM

The swings of a mutilated masterpiece

Painted between 1639 and 1642 by RembrandtThe original name of this work is “The company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch preparing to leave.” This group portrait was commissioned by a company of the Municipal Guard and, from 1796, it was renamed with its current name.

Transfer of “La Ronda de Noche” in 2003, on the occasion of the restoration of the museum – REUTERS

Throughout its history, the painting has suffered various transfers, some of them due to historical episodes that occurred in the Netherlands. Originally it was exhibited at the Kloveniersdoelen in Amsterdam, the division of musketeers of the civic militia. In 1715 the canvas was transferred to the Amsterdam City Hall in Dam Square (now Dam Palace). By not fitting into the wall of the Town Hall, the painting underwent a major change: dropped about a meter on each side, losing three figures and the railing of a bridge. They did not recover.

In 1817, “The Night Watch” was moved to the newly opened Rijksmuseum and in 1889 the State collection was transferred there, where the work was exhibited in different rooms. During the World War II, Rembrandt’s canvas had to be moved from the Rijksmuseum to Radboud Castle in Medemblik, via an excavated passageway just under the paint for emergencies. From Medemblik, the painting was brought to un bunker under the dunes near Castricum in the north of Holland, where the tag was removed and had to be rolled up for storage.

Dutch museum workers, taking down the painting in 2003, which was last moved during the restoration works of the Rijksmuseum
Dutch museum workers, taking down the painting in 2003, which was last moved during the restoration works of the Rijksmuseum – REUTERS

In April 1942, the work was transferred to the caves of St. Pietersberg near Maastricht, where he remained until the Netherlands was liberated. Finally, on June 25, 1945 “The Night Watch” arrived in Amsterdam by boat after a day sailing the rivers of Holland. In 2013 the museum reopened the doors of its renovated building, the work of Sevillian architects Cruz and Ortiz, after more than a decade of work, not without controversy, and a global budget of 375 million euros (the architectural work has cost 200 million).

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