See Rembrandt's Night Watch online in hyper-resolution

See Rembrandt's Night Watch online in hyper-resolution

The Rijksmuseum, one of the most famous museums in the Netherlands has put its “most detailed photo ever” online. The photographic reproduction of the Night Watch by the 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt in hyper resolution is now available for viewing online in such high quality that you can zoom in and see individual brushstrokes, pigment particles and hairline cracks in the oil paint.

Rembrandt in a hyper resolution 44,8 gigapixel photograph

The photograph is made up of 528 different still photos that have been connected together like a digital jigsaw puzzle. The final image is made up of 44,8 gigapixels and the distance between each pixel is just 20 micrometres. The hyper-resolution image was created during the restoration process that began almost a year ago, to track the ageing process of the painting and to document it in detail. 

“The Operation Night Watch research team use the very latest technologies and continually push the boundaries of what was thought possible,” museum director Taco Dibbits said. “The photograph is a crucial source of information for the researchers, and online visitors can use it to admire Rembrandt’s masterpiece in minute detail.”

Operation Night Watch continues

The famous, never-been-done-before large-scale restoration of Rembrandt's most renowned painting is known as Operation Night Watch.

The Operation Night Watch team started work on the famous painting almost a year ago and have been using cutting edge technology to restore it and study it in detail. According to Katrine Keune, the Rijksmuseum’s head of science, the main aim was to “create the most extensive database possible with today’s technology”. The restoration has been live-streamed to audiences all over the world.

The work, which is being done by a team of 12 restorers, had to cease during the coronavirus pandemic. However, restoration resumed on Wednesday. The restoration itself has been delayed because the glass chamber in which the work takes place can now only accommodate two restorers at a time. Due to the 1,5-metre social distancing requirement, the original timeframe is not possible to adhere to.

There is no official end date in sight, but what matters is quality: “We won’t rush things. This can only be done once and it has to be done well. We owe it to the world.”

Rijksmuseum reopening

For those who want to stand in front of the magnificent artwork for real: the Rijksmuseum will reopen on June 1 but will only allow 2.000 visitors per day, instead of the usual 10.000 visitors that it usually admits. If you don't feel like venturing all the way to central Amsterdam, then why not enjoy the essence of the Rijksmuseum and other museums in a virtual tour?

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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