The Nightwatch

Introduction to The Nightwatch

The Nightwatch was a famous painting of Holland painter Rembrandt in the 17th century. Now it is preserved in the Holland Museum of Amsterdam. This painting depicted the captain and vice-captain (two characters in the painting). Because of the dim light, this painting was mistaken the depiction of the night. The characters in the painting were real. Some people thought this painting hided some stories and implied another layer of meaning.

The Nightwatch

The Nightwatch

The Nightwatch was made in 1642, measuring 363 x 437 cm. This painting was a group portrait of Amsterdam's shooters. Each shooter delivered one hundred Dutch coins and thought they occupied the same position with others. However, Rembrandt was not in accordance with these people's requirements and tastes which placed the shooters in the luxurious banquet or lively entertainment to show each character somewhat brought pretentious pride and grace, as Hal did not tie up so many people like the portrait paintings. In order not to plug so many characters in the painting, the painter made a careful design of the composition and tried to make every one arranged and well-proportioned and also make the center spot. Lieutenant Kirk and deputy were very prominent. This painting's light and color performance were amazing to people. The original painting was the performance of the day, because of the long-term smoking. And the colors becoming black made people mistakenly refer to this painting The Nightwatch. This outstanding art work did not meet the gunmen's interest, and led the artist into a misery!

Appreciation to The Nightwatch

The painting took the form of drama. The team took to the streets in succession. Two people dressed in two different clothes walked in procession, which constituted the center of the painting. One was dressed in a black uniform, wearing a black hat; another was dressed in red shawl, wearing a yellow uniform and a yellow hat. Two people were cool to discuss problems to prepare for the decision of the whole team action. The rest of the team followed them, some being armed with rifles, some waving flags, some talking to each other. The tension atmosphere when the team set off was revealed on the painting. Among the crowd, there was a little girl with a distinctive image which was confounded at inclusion in the crowd appearance and an episode of the painting. In fact, some people believed that she was the embodiment of the light and the truth, arousing people against alien domination of the glorious memory. But except for the two captains and the little girl in the whole painting, other characters were arranged in the dark and in the light of background with sharp contrast and prioritized characters. The painter deliberately set aside a large black blank, giving a person leave room for imagination. But by the 19th century, because this oil painting lost its color, the surface oil appeared dark brown. Some people mistakenly believed that what the artist depicted was the night scene, hence the name The Nightwatch. After the expert's appraisal, what the painter used was the daylight, depicting the day scene.

The outstanding art work could not meet the gunmen's interest, and led the artist into misery! It led to the subtle relationship between the Holland art patron's value in the 17th century and the painter's personal pursuit. In this painting, through the unique composition and processing of color and brightness, the painter created a nervous, mysterious and dynamic team travelling atmosphere. Breaking that kind of excited uneasiness and grandeur of the law in the Baroque art, the painter paid more attention to people's inner activity. As the artist himself said, "The artist's mission is to create the image of the beauty, instead of calculating how many heads." Although his later life was extremely difficult, the outstanding contribution he had made to the art of painting, the history would not forget.


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