AMSTERDAM (AP) – Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic and huge painting “The Night Watch” is now also an oversized museum photo delivered straight to your laptop with unparalleled detail.
Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum posted on its digital portal on Monday what it called “the most detailed photograph of all works of art,” ready for review by scientists and art lovers. It is expected to generate widespread interest, especially since the museum is closed due to the coronavirus measures.
The 717 gigapixel photo allows viewers to zoom in on Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and see how the 17th century master put the tiniest of white dots in his eyes to bring the main character in the painting to life. It also shows the tiny cracks in its pupils, caused by the passage of time.
The real canvas measures 379.5 x 453.5 centimeters (149.4 x 178.5 inches) and each pixel represents 5 micrometers or 0.005 square millimeters.
Besides just showing the dazzling detail, it will also help researchers restore the artwork and assess its aging process over time.
The Night Watch will be removed from its wooden stretcher in two weeks and placed on a new one to remove ripples caused when the world-famous painting was installed in a temporary gallery while the Rijksmuseum underwent major renovations from 2003 to 2013.
The oil painting on canvas depicts a group of civilian militias from Amsterdam and shows Rembrandt’s renowned use of light and composition to create a dynamic scene filled with figures.
The painting has undergone numerous restorations during its existence. It was placed on its current wooden frame in 1975. Once the painting has been re-stretched, the museum will decide if further restoration work is needed.
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