The in-depth analysis of this sensational scene is a task that has occupied hundreds of students for centuries, a study that have identified almost the totality of the 28 30 before an unfortunate cut personages -including three children and a dog- among them Captain Purmerlandt and his Lieutenant Von Vlaerdingen.
The so-called Night Watch is not a night scene at all; it actually takes place during the day. This title, which was not given by the artist, was first applied at the end of the 18th century.
By that time the painting had darkened considerably through the accumulation of many layers of dirt and varnish, giving the appearance that the event takes place at night. It is a group portrait of a company of civic guardsmen. The primary purpose of these guardsmen was to serve as defenders of their cities.
As such, they were tasked with guarding gates, policing streets, putting out fires, and generally maintaining order throughout the city. Additionally, they were an important presence at parades held for visiting royalty as well and other festive occasions.
Each company had its own guild hall as well as a shooting range where they could practice with the specific weapon associated with their group, either a longbow, a crossbow, or a firearm.
According to tradition, these assembly halls were decorated with group portraits of its most distinguished members, which served not only to record the likenesses of these citizens, but more importantly to assert the power and individuality of the city that they defended.
In short, these images helped promote a sense of pride and civic duty. This company was under the command of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, who holds a prominent position in the center foreground of the image above left. He wears the formal black attire and white lace collar of the upper class, accented by a bold red sash across his chest.
Striding forward, he turns his head to the left and emphatically extends his free hand as he addresses his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburgh, who turns to acknowledge his orders.
Sixteen additional portraits of members of this company are also included, with the names of all inscribed on a framed shield in the archway.
As was common practice at the time, sitters paid a fee that was based on their prominence within the painting. Rather than replicating the typical arrangement of boring rows of figures see aboveRembrandt animates his portrait.
Sitters perform specific actions that define their roles as militiamen. Indeed, the scene has the appearance of an actual historical event taking place although what we are truly witnessing is the creative genius of Rembrandt at work. Men wearing bits of armor and varied helmets, arm themselves with an array of weapons before a massive, but imaginary archway that acts as a symbol of the city gate to be defended.
On the left, the standard bearer raises the troop banner while on the far right a group of men hold their pikes high. In the left foreground, a young boy carrying a powder horn dashes off to collect more powder for the musketeers.
Opposite him, a drummer taps out a cadence while a dog barks enthusiastically at his feet. Rembrandt's self-portrait behind the figure in the top hat? Most of these figures are relegated to the background with their faces obscured or only partly visible.
One, wearing a beret and peering up from behind the helmeted figure standing next to the standard bearer has even been identified as Rembrandt himself. Three Musketeers While a number of different weapons are included in the painting, the most prominent weapon is the musket, the official weapon of the Kloveniers.
Three of the five musketeers are given a place of significance just behind the captain and lieutenant where they carry out in sequential order the basic steps involved in properly handling a musket.
First, on the left, a musketeer dressed all in red, charges his weapon by pouring powder into the muzzle.
Next, a rather small figure wearing a helmet adorned with oak leaves fires his weapon to the right. Finally, the man behind the lieutenant clears the pan by blowing off the residual powder both the figure in a helmet with oak leaves and the man blowing off the powder are visible in the detail of the central figures above.
In his rendering of these steps, it seems that Rembrandt was influenced by weapons manuals of the period.
With flowing blond hair and a fanciful gold dress, the young girl in all her brilliance draws considerable attention.
Her most curious attribute, however, is the large white chicken that hangs upside down from her waistband. The significance of this bird, particularly its claws, lies in its direct reference to the Kloveniers.
Each guild had its own emblem and for the Kloveniers it was a golden claw on a blue field. The girl then is not a real person, but acts as a personification of the company. Wendy Schaller Dutch Republic.A comprehensive guide to the life and art of Rembrandt van Rijn with hundreds of hi-quality images of paintings, etchings and drawings.
complete online catalogue of rembrandt's painting; read about rembrandt's painting; selected paintings divided in 3 sections (below) the 'night watch' rembrandt's house; dutch pronunciation guide. If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *barnweddingvt.com and *barnweddingvt.com are unblocked.
The night watch REMBRANDT VAN RIJN (Dutch, ) oil on canvas, x cm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum “The night watch" is one of the most important paintings of the whole history of Art, and with no doubt one of the most complex.
The in-depth analysis of this sensational scene is a task that has occupied hundreds of students. Analysis of Other Paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn • Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer () Metropolitan Museum, NY. • Bathsheba Holding King David's Letter () Louvre, Paris. • Portrait of Jan Six () The Six Foundation, Amsterdam.
Rembrandt's most important painting was the Night Watch (see right f.) of It is now difficult to imagine with hindsight what an impact it must have had on the unsuspecting Amsterdam public. The sitters complained that they had not been given equal prominence.
Quite obviously Rembrandt had no intention of painting them in a neat line. The Night Watch lies at the center of the most persistent and annoying of all Rembrandt myths. As recently as the tourist season of , KLM Royal Dutch Airlines featured the painting by their illustrious countryman in an advertisement inviting travelers to visit Holland.