The Night Watch

The Nightwatch by Rembrandt - Rijksmuseum.jpg

The Night Watch also known as Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and as The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch is a famous painting made by Dutch artist Rembrandt around 1639. The painting is very large. It measures almost 12 feet by 14.4 feet. It took Rembrandt over 3 years to paint it and no one really knows where he painted it as his usual workspace at his home was far to small for the painting to fit in. It is called the Night Watch because for a long time it was covered in a dark varnish that led people to believe that it depicted a night scene where it actually shows a dark daytime scene. Rembrandt was paid 1600 Guilders (the local currency at the time) by Captain Banning Cocq and a few other members of his Militia of soldiers. The painting was hung in the Musketeer’s Meeting Hall in Amsterdam. In 1715 the painting was moved to the town hall and all 4 sides were trimmed so the painting would fit between two columns leading to two characters being lost along with a few other background arches and similar decorations. It moved around a bit and settled in the new Rijksmuseum in 1885. Then in September of 1939 when World War 2 started the painting was taken off its frame and rolled up. During the next 4 years, it was hidden rolled up in a safe in Maastricht along with other works of art. Once the war ended it was returned to the museum. The painting has even been attacked a few times. Once in 1911, once in 1975, and once in 1990. The first 2 times it was attacked with a shoemaker’s knife and a breadknife respectively and the third time with a spray bottle filled with acid. While all times it was saved and restored it does have quite a history. After the time in 1975, the attacker was questioned and claimed he had done it “for the lord” and was ordered to do it. This painting is a masterpiece. Even though many mysteries remain about it it still intrigues people from around the world. If you want to learn more go Here

5 Responses to “The Night Watch

  • Great blog Rhys, of one of my all time favourite pieces.
    A copy of this masterpiece adorns our wall.

    • RhysHanson
      5 years ago

      Have you ever seen the statues that are in Rembrandt square in Amsterdam? They are life-sized replicas of the figures in the painting.

  • Barb Walker
    5 years ago

    It’s hard to imagine that a painting like that can be rolled up without damaging it.

  • Tom Bieging
    5 years ago

    Enjoyed your post after seeing the statutes in Rembrandt Square.

  • Denise Kelley
    5 years ago

    Learning all this, I must now see it!

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