High-tech imaging technology to throw new light on Rembrandt's iconic masterpiece, Night Watch
AMSTERDAM (AP): Researchers and restorers at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum launched a months-long project Monday, using high-tech imaging technology to throw new light on Rembrandt van Rijn's iconic Night Watch.
Art lovers around the world can follow the project online.
"This is the first time that we can actually make a full body scan and that we can discover which pigments he used not only through making little samples but with scanning the entire surface," said the museum's general director, Taco Dibbits.
The painting has undergone many retouches and restorations in the past and some of the later additions are starting to fade.
Before the latest restoration can begin, experts will photograph and scan the painting to evaluate its condition.
They will build up a detailed digital picture by merging 12,000 separate images as well as using X-ray technology to peer through the surface.
On Monday, a macro X-ray fluorescence scanner began taking a series of images, said Petria Noble, Head of Paintings Conservation at the Rijksmuseum.
"Each type of technique will give us some information that we then need to put together and interpret all the information together and what that means for the painting," Noble said.
More than 2 million people each year visit the Rijksmuseum, which has the world's largest collection of Rembrandt works.
The Golden Age master is known for his innovative use of light and rebellious compositions.
The restoration project comes in a year that marks the 350th anniversary of the artist's death in 1669 and is part of a "Year of Rembrandt" at the museum.