Watching “The Night Watch”

Initial research on The Night Watch. Photo by Daniel Maissan, courtesy the Rijksmuseum.

Over the next few years, you can watch, from YOUR living room, as Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting The Night Watch (1642) undergoes live restoration.

Beginning in July 2019, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will offer the public a unique glimpse into a process that usually happens behind closed doors. A restoration team will work in a “state of the art clear glass chamber” so museum patrons—and those tuning in to the live online stream—can witness how the exacting process is performed.

The painting has been restored twice before—once in 1975 after a vicious knife attack (Yes, on a painting. It was actually the SECOND knife attack on the painting, the first happening in 1911.) and in 1990 after a man sprayed it with acid (yes, a painting). All damage was repaired, but a white haze has started to appear over parts of it (including where the knife damage was), and curators and preservationists feel it’s time to give it some TLC again. The restoration will take millions of euros and several years to complete. “As we say in Dutch, conserving paintings is a monk’s job. It takes a lot of patience,” said Taco Dibbitts, General Director of the museum.

Taylor Design Blog

By Hannah F

Senior Art Director