Late Rembrandts Come to Life: Watch Animations of Paintings Now on Display at the Rijksmuseum

Last week, we fea­tured three ter­mi­nal­ly ill art-lovers’ jour­ney to the Rijksmu­se­um to see their Rem­brandts for one last time. They saw those paint­ings far more vivid­ly, no doubt, than would those of us lucky enough to have longer on this Earth. Though noth­ing can con­vey the expe­ri­ence of see­ing any­thing, art­work or oth­er­wise, for the last time, these ani­ma­tions will at least give you the expe­ri­ence of see­ing Rem­brandt’s work in an entire­ly new way.

The videos (see them all here) bring to life six of the twelve can­vas­es from The Late Rem­brandt Exhi­bi­tion, the very same one to which Sticht­ing Ambu­lance Wens Ned­er­land took the three patients near­ing their ends. Even if you’ve nev­er con­sid­ered your­self par­tic­u­lar­ly up on the Dutch Mas­ters, you’ll more than like­ly rec­og­nize most of these paint­ings. Just above we have, for instance, 1642’s The Night Watch (or, more prop­er­ly, Mili­tia Com­pa­ny of Dis­trict II under the Com­mand of Cap­tain Frans Ban­ninck Cocq, or The Shoot­ing Com­pa­ny of Frans Ban­ning Cocq and Willem van Ruyten­burch), per­haps Rem­brandt’s best-known work, and one you may remem­ber Peter Green­away bring­ing to his own brand of life in Night­watch­ing.

If all this strikes you as an exer­cise in high-tech des­e­cra­tion, give the ani­ma­tions a watch and you’ll find them more sub­tly and taste­ful­ly exe­cut­ed than you might have imag­ined. You can see all six at the Youtube page of CS Dig­i­tal Media, who pro­duced them for Dutch telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions KPN, the Rijksmu­se­um’s main spon­sor — art hav­ing its patrons as much now as it did in Rem­brandt’s day.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Final Wish: Ter­mi­nal­ly Ill Patients Vis­it Rembrandt’s Paint­ings in the Rijksmu­se­um One Last Time

The Rijksmu­se­um Puts 125,000 Dutch Mas­ter­pieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art

Rembrandt’s Face­book Time­line

16th-Cen­tu­ry Ams­ter­dam Stun­ning­ly Visu­al­ized with 3D Ani­ma­tion

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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