Amsterdam’s famous Rijksmuseum is to restore the Rembrandt masterpiece “The Night Watch” under the full gaze of the public, as well as live-streaming it online, the museum said on Tuesday. A layer of varnish on top of the paint darkened over time, giving the scene an unintended nocturnal quality. The varnish came off in the 1940s, but much more work remains to return Rembrandt’s masterpiece to the state in which Rembrandt himself beheld it.
Note: The last restoration work was carried out 40 years ago after a mentally ill man slashed the painting with a knife.
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The multi-million-euro restoration starting in July 2019 will be open to the two million people a year who come to the gallery in the capital of the Netherlands to see the Dutch master’s 1642 tableau.
But the painstaking work on the piece, which hangs in the gallery of honor in the museum, will also be carried online so people around the world can see it be restored inch by inch.
The institution “plans to first study the painting for about eight months, using new scanning technologies that were not available during previous restorations, such as macro X-ray fluorescence scanning, which can explore different layers of the paint surface to determine what needs to be done.” Throughout the whole process, “a transparent showcase will be built around the painting, the scientists and the restorers, so that visitors can view the progress.”