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AkzoNobel, Museum Partner for Painting Restoration

Monday, July 8, 2019

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AkzoNobel (Amsterdam) recently announced that the company is partnering with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to restore Rembrandt’s celebrated masterpiece, “The Night Watch.”

Beginning today (July 8), AkzoNobel color specialists will partner with a team of researchers, conservators and restorers to work on the 377-year-old painting, an endeavor known as “Operation Night Watch."

The Project

“We’re about to embark on the biggest and most innovative restoration in the museum’s 219-year history,” said General Director of the Rijksmuseum, Taco Dibbits.


AkzoNobel (Amsterdam) recently announced that the company is partnering with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to restore Rembrandt’s celebrated masterpiece, “The Night Watch.”

“The Rijksmuseum continually monitors the condition of The Night Watch, and we’ve discovered that changes are occurring, such as blanching on the figure of the dog in the lower right of the painting. To gain a better understanding of its condition as a whole, the decision has been taken to conduct a thorough examination. So we’re extremely grateful to AkzoNobel, as the work that’s being carried out with their support is vital.”

Working encased in a glass chamber (to keep the painting displayed for the museum), the team will first take about 11,400 high resolution photographs of the painting. Then, special scanners will look at cracks and crevices while a laser examines the pigments. The hope is that all of those images will give workers what they need to proceed.

AkzoNobel calls the undertaking “the most innovative restoration in the history of art.”

The process seeks to answer questions such as: How was the painting made? What was the original appearance of the painting intended by Rembrandt? What is the current condition of The Night Watch? What type of paint alterations have taken place and why?

“We’re about to rock the world of paintings conservation and do things that have never been attempted before,” said Robert van Langh, the Rijksmuseum’s Head of Conservation and Science.

“First of all, we need to find out what we’re up against. With a partner like AkzoNobel on board, we’re confident we’ll take our understanding of paint to the next level—and I don’t just mean one level, I’m talking three or four levels.”

This partnership between the museum and AkzoNobel is set to last three years.

Those who cannot make it to the museum in person can watch the restoration here.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Historic Preservation; Maintenance + Renovation; Restoration

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