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Rembrandt 360: a stunning photographic replica of Rembrandt’s Night Watch

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Picture this: a very high resolution photographic replica of Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch with real people and accessories in its original format (on a 4m x 5m  canvas). This is for real! I visited the exhibition Rembrandt 360 in July but due to its mega success the exhibition is extended till the end of October. 

Rembrandt’s Night Watch

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is definitely one of the most famous artists in the Netherlands and his painting The Night Watch probably one of the most famous paintings in the world. Currently, the Rijksmuseum, where his masterpieces are on display marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death. What is a better way to honour Rembrandt than by reconstructing The Night Watch as a photograph? I am not talking about a simple photograph of the original work but a complete reconstruction of the painting with real people with 17th century armour, weapons, helmets, jewelry and costumes. 

A salient detail is that the photo reconstruction also shows what might have been on the other side of the gate which one can see in the background of the real Night Watch. A great sample of storytelling! This was absolutely one of the most fascinating projects I have seen in months. 

The other side of Rembrandt’s Night Watch

How was this done?

Fotographer Julius Rooymans and fashion designer Hans Ubbink turned this mind blowing idea into reality. Perfection was key! According to Julius, it wasn’t easy to find the people who resembled the ones in The Night Watch. They even posted portraits of characters from The Night Watch on Facebook asking if anyone happened to know a person with for example a hump nose like the one in the painting. Some lookalikes were even found at weddings! As a bonus, many of the characters were photographed individually so you can take a really close look at them at the exhibition. Another challenge was the light fall in Rembrandt’s workshop that makes his paintings so unique. Julius told that a butterfly screen was used with a white cloth for the white bounce. The dozens of flashes and a frame of the exact size of Rembrandt’s workshop window were used to recreate Rembrandt’s light as accurately as possible. 

High resolution portraits of the Night Watch

Where did all the accessories come from? 

Many experts worked on this project to ensure that objects, costumes and other accessories matched the ones in the painting. Goldsmith artist Zoë Nina made exact copies of the jewelry, another artist made all the 17th century hats, Gerda’s bloemen took care of the flowers, and make-up artist Arjen van der Grijn gave the people in the picture an even more 17th century face. If possible, authentic 17th century armour and weapons were used for this reconstruction. Others were copied with 3D-printing techniques. Many of the costumes, hats and helmets are on display at the exhibition. 

3D-printed 17th century helmets

Good to know

The exhibitions is open for visitors every Thursday-Sunday from 20 September till 26 October. Entree fees are €12,49 and tickets can be bought via Eventbrite

The exclusive selected Art prints are for sale in a limited edition of 20. These prints come with a stamp of authenticity and accompanying certificate. For more information check out the website of Rembrandt 360 or contact Jessica Karelsen at [email protected].

If after the exhibition you fancy a drink, next door you will find the popular Café Roest (see my blogpost on the most beautiful waterfront terraces in Amsterdam). 

How do you get there? 

The exhibition is located in a beautiful old industrial building. Here is the address: Osstenburgermiddenstraat 101 (map). 

If you take bus 22 (towards Muiderpoortstation) from Central station and get off at stop Oostenburgergracht it is only a 6 minute walk.

 

About the author: Laura Danielle is a co-founder of Comedy Walks: stand-up comedy shows with the city as a stage, or, if you like, city tours with a professional stand-up comedian as a guide. We currently run Comedy Walks in Amsterdam and Washington DC. By far the most fun way to explore a city! All information in the blog posts is based on personal experiences and commission free (“I rather drink coffee with inspiring entrepreneurs than compete with them for 20 cents commission for our customers’ coffee” – Laura Danielle).