AI returned the missing pieces to Rembrandt's "Night Watch"
The joint work of neural networks and researchers has allowed the world to return to the original appearance of the painting «Night Watch» by Rembrandt van Rijn, according to the Associated Press.
In the 18th century, this work of the artist was cropped from all sides to fit the picture in the new hall of the city hall.
(Photo by The New York Times)
The canvas has the full title «Speech by the Rifle Company of Captain Frans Banning Kok and Lieutenant Willem van Reitenbürg» and was written by Rembrandt in 1642. However, the large size of the painting led to the fact that it had to be adjusted to fit and cut off — the left side of the canvas suffered the most, where two arrows disappeared.
A small copy of the original, written by Gerrit Lundsen, has survived, which helped to restore the original appearance of the painting by Rembrandt. For nearly two years, researchers have been collecting scans, X-rays and digital images of the Night's Watch to train artificial intelligence to mimic an artist's style and fill in the gaps of a painting based on a copy. And they did it! The painting with the added fragments is exhibited in the «Gallery of Honor» of the main museum in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Thanks to the two heroes appearing on the canvas, the center of the composition have shifted, which gives the picture a different dynamics. “Rembrandt would definitely have made it prettier, but that’s very close,” said Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits. The museum welcomes visitors, and on its website there is a high-resolution scan of the painting, which will allow you to see even individual strokes and cracks on the surface of the canvas. It is also made using AI.
The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642
oil on canvas, h 379.5cm × w 453.5cm × w 337kg More details
Rembrandt's largest and most famous painting was made for one of the three headquarters of Amsterdam's civic guard. These groups of civilian soldiers defended the city from attack. Rembrandt was the first to paint all of the figures in a civic guard piece in action. The captain, dressed in black, gives the order to march out. The guardsmen are getting into formation. Rembrandt used the light to focus on particular details, like the captain's gesturing hand and the young girl in the foreground. She was the company mascot. The nickname Night Watch originated much later, when the painting was thought to represent a nocturnal scene.