Dutch 3D printing service bureau Oceanz has helped in a unique project concerning The Night Watch painting by famed 17th century painting Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Through Nachtwacht 360 artists have recreated the tableau of the famous painting using real people. Partners use 3D printing to create lifelike props that help turn art works “into reality.”
As stated in the Nachtwacht 360 exhibition description, “What is invisible in paint, will be brought to light in this photograph […] Take a look over Rembrant’s shoulder and experience scenes from the life and oeuvre of the painter himself.”
The Night Watch is the iconic painting of Dutch master Rembrandt at the peak of the Dutch Golden Age. As the original work is currently under live restoration at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Nachtwacht 360 offers an alternative way to experience this remarkable work of art.
The centerpiece of Nachtwacht 360 is a true-to-size photographic replica of the 1642 painting, created by photographer Julius Rooymans and fashion designer Hans Ubbink. For the project 25 look-a-likes, including a doppelganger of Rembrandt himself, were scouted from across the Netherlands to take part. Dressed and posed exactly as characters in the painting, the scene was photographed from both the front and the back giving a new, unseen view of The Night Watch.
Alongside the centerpiece 35 high-resolution portraits and 3D printed objects made specially for the project will also be displayed.
3D printing props from the 17th century
Despite the painting’s colossal size (363 cm × 437 cm), there is a great amount of detail in the 17th century outfits. “Making it again by hand was a Tour de force,” commented Ubbink. “Without the enormous skill and involvement of the various experts, […] this process would have never succeeded.”
To accurately recreate the scene, the project sourced authentic 17th-century harnesses, weapons and helmets from Dutch collectors. A careful study by a weapon expert and the Army Museum however concluded that some of the objects in the painting were entirely from the imagination of Rembrandt. To bring these elements to life, the artists, collaborating with experts from Rijksmuseum and the National Military Museum, combined 17th-century and contemporary techniques for the replication.
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