Story at a glance

  • Earlier this week, The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum posted a new high-definition photograph of Rembrandt’s masterpiece “The Night Watch” on their portal.
  • The museum claims it is “the most detailed photograph of any artwork.”
  • The photograph will allow people to view the painting since the museum has shuttered its doors due to the pandemic and allow team members to restore the work.

Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpiece “The Night Watch” can now be viewed on computers everywhere in ultra high definition. 

On Monday, The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum uploaded what it has called “the most detailed photograph of any artwork” on its digital portal to allow viewers to zoom and make out the tiny brush strokes that together create Captain Frans Banninck Cocq. 

“Making the image has been a great challenge. There were many people who thought it was impossible, and who thought the Operation Night Watch team were crazy to even attempt it,” said Robert Erdmann, senior scientist at the Rijksmuseum. “We have surpassed ourselves in what can justifiably be described as a world-class achievement.” 


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The photograph’s resolution is 717 gigapixels with the complete image made up of 8,439 individual pictures measuring 5.5 cm by 4.1 cm. The Operation Night Watch team used a 100-megapixel Hasselblad H6D 400 MS-camera for the photographs, and artificial intelligence was used to stitch the smaller images together to create the final photograph, according to the museum’s website.

It is the largest and most detailed photograph of any artwork, and is four times sharper than its predecessor, which the Rijksmuseum published around 18 months ago,” the museum wrote. “This means it is now possible to zoom in even further on minute, pin-sharp particles of pigment in The Night Watch.”

Besides allowing viewers to better see the painting’s details, the photograph will allow team members to restore the iconic painting. Team members will mount the painting on a new stretcher before they assess what conservation treatments should be undertaken. 


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Published on Jan 04, 2022