February 28, 2021

'The night round' takes life live and through the crystal | Culture

"Follow the Operation The night round", Invites the Rijksmuseum, from Amsterdam, who has put Rembrandt's famous painting in a transparent box so that the public can see live the greater investigation and later restoration of its history. The project started on Tuesday, and the first reactions were encouraging: "Uaaa! Some schoolchildren exclaimed, who have approached with some shyness the glass that keeps the visitor at seven meters of cloth, while they listened attentively to the explanations about a work that can last several years. "Well, well, what is this?" Said a couple, who has circled around showcase where 29 art historians, curators, photographers and computer scientists will handle high-precision equipment to observe the effects of time, and the technique and colors of the artist. It is a unique company that Taco Dibbits, director of the museum, offers to people because "The night's round is for everyone".

The works can also be followed through the Internet, and the canvas has been stripped of its frame and hung on a special easel attached to the same master wall of the Rijksmuseum's main floor, where it hangs normally. As the area is still open, to avoid that the vibrations caused by the footsteps of the public spoil the more than 12,500 high-precision photographs provided, the ballot box itself has been installed on a special stage. Open at the top, this showcase "will not create a harmful microclimate for the canvas," says Katrien Keune, responsible for scientific research and analysis of paint samples. This first phase will last about a year, "and it will be a deep study of the painting and its pigments". "By the last restoration, of 1975, we know that there are changes in the surface of the painting (there are tiny white spots due to aging). Now we will see where the lead is, and where the iron of the colors, to approach the conservation ", indicates, while his colleagues are busy with the fluorescent ray scanner, which will allow to reach the oil layers without damaging it.

The device is mounted on rails, so that it can travel through the frame without touching it, and go up and down the length and width of its 3,79 x 4,53 meters. A microscope has been mounted on the same platform, and then a camera will take action that will take high resolution photos, capable of making a zoom in areas five times thinner than a human hair. There will also be 3D images, and the terabytes of information collected will allow the restorers to approach the picture with greater knowledge about Rembrandt's work. "It is not that we are going to find another painting underneath, but information about the positions of the characters and the intervals in which he painted the group. All this will improve the subsequent restoration ", adds Keune.

Aggressions and changes

The noch roundIt has undergone surprising changes and up to three aggressions between 1911 and 1990. Rembrandt finished it in 1642, and portrays the military company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburg, the two main characters of the group of arquebusiers. The 1715 was taken from the headquarters of this civic guard to the City of Amsterdam, and as it did not fit in the planned room, they cut it, especially the left side. "We do not know where the pieces are. I wish they would appear in some attic, "says Karen Keune. In 1911, she was attacked with a knife, but the damage did not go beyond the varnish. In 1939, before the Nazi invasion, it was evacuated along with another 30,000 works of art to a hideout in the Maastricht province (south of the country) from where it returned in 1945. Between 1946 and 1947 several layers of yellowing varnish were removed , and when the possibility of a new restoration was evaluated, an unbalanced one cut the canvas 12 times with another knife. In 1990, they threw acid at him, but, again, the varnish became a barrier.

The history of the painting is very rich and this restoration is very complex. We hope to see Rembrandt's work as never before

Taco Dibbits, director of the museum

"The history of the painting is very rich and this restoration is very complex. We hope to see Rembrandt's work as never before, because he did not leave drawings and most likely painted the characters in turn. But the result is different from other group portraits, which seem to pose. Here they are about to leave round (diurnal, the darkening of the varnish mistakenly attributed the nocturnal). The group conveys pride for their work and movement. Something that nobody had done before, "according to Dibbits. The glass showcase has been designed by the French architect Jean Michel Wilmotte, and the cost of this first phase of the operation will amount to three million euros. The museum indicates that the multinational Azko Nobel and private funds and other sponsors will bear the bulk of the expense.

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