Museum repairs the “ripples” of Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”

THE HAGUE – Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic painting “The Night Watch” will be stretched to remove distortions in its upper left corner, the National Museum of the Netherlands said on Wednesday.

The 379.5 x 453.5 centimeter (149.4 x 178.5 inch) canvas will be removed from its wooden stretcher next month and placed on a new one to remove ripples caused when the world famous paint was housed in a temporary gallery while the The Rijksmuseum underwent extensive renovations from 2003 to 2013.

The oil painting on canvas depicts a civilian militia from Amsterdam and shows Rembrandt’s renowned use of light and composition to create a dynamic scene filled with figures.

The museum said the ripples were likely caused by “excessive climatic fluctuations in the gallery” where she hangs during reconstruction work on her iconic house in Amsterdam.

“We think this is very important for the long term preservation of the paint. The deformation (is) then supposed to relax and the painting will then take on a flatter and more uniform surface, ”said Petria Noble, museum conservation manager.

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The painting has undergone many restorations during its life. It was placed on its current wooden frame in 1975. Once the painting has been reassembled, the museum will decide if further restoration work is necessary.

The announcement came as the museum wrapped up a long and painstakingly detailed examination of the painting using a battery of high-tech imaging technologies, including scans that revealed a preparatory sketch of the work under the paint.

“It gives us the impression that we can peek over Rembrandt’s shoulder while he was working on ‘The Night Watch’,” said Pieter Roelofs, responsible for painting and museum sculpture.

Experts have long suspected that Rembrandt sketched the work before painting it in 1642. They now have proof.

“This gives us for the first time a real insight into Rembrandt’s creative process. It’s fascinating to see how he went about looking for the right mix, ”Roelofs said. “We have discovered the origins of ‘The Night Watch’.”

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The museum said much of the painting remains in excellent condition, while some areas are “in poor condition, in part due to the many treatments” The Night Watch “has undergone since the 17th century.” He added that the earlier removal of the varnish probably led to the dissolution of the paint on some parts of the work.

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