Hello everyone, I hope you guys are having a lovely day! This week I wanted to talk about one of Rembrandt’s paintings called The Night Watch. I have preciously written a post about Rembrandt, but in this post I wanted to bring up a unique feature the Rijks Museum did for this 1642 painting.
As you can see here, this painting has a multitude of things occurring at once. This painting is categorized under the period of the Dutch Golden Age. It is around 11.92 ft by 14.34 ft (imagine how intimidated you might feel in front of this). In addition, you can see the shift use of light, dark, and shadows. The background itself is dark, but many of the figures are highlighted and light.
Essentially, this is a group portrait of a militia company of the time. When we think of militias, we think of men protecting cities and countries. But here, Rembrandt is making them of a part of a celebration, not part of an act of protection. And in addition to this, there is so much going on here. Besides the militia men, there is a dog barking in the corner, a man playing the drums, a man taking the militia flag, and a girl (or two girls?) that are incorporated into the group of men. And these excessive qualities can be a bit overwhelming, but something about the way Rembrandt uses light and shadows makes the work have a sort of calm appearance.
As you can see, there is a lot to explore in this one painting alone. The super exciting feature that I came across with this painting is that the Rijks Museum did an interactive virtual documentary on this work. It’s a digital way to get up close to the work, and learn about the close details of the painting. These include: Highlights Tour, History, Secrets, Who is Who?, Present Day, Composition, and Movement. For anyone who is interested in art history, you guys know the excitement of this. It’s up close and personal to the work, and for people who need lots of visual aids, it provide close ups on what is happening. If anyone is interested in this, here is the site: nightwatchexperience.com/en.
Rembrandt, Self Portrait, 1660