The most famous attraction in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is the painting known as The Night Watch. Rembrandt van Rijn painted it in 1642, at the prime time of the Dutch Golden Age. The museum recently underwent the 10-year long rebuilding process after which it is again open for visitors. The whole building of the Rijksmuseum is designed and constructed in a way that this painting is highlighted and centered in the building. The director of the museum has rightly described the painting as the altarpiece of the Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum remains to display the world’s greatest art collection. The recent renovation has rearranged the displays in their chronological order, which makes it easy for the visitors to understand and grasp the history of the Netherlands.
Visitors can come near to the painting, The Night Watch through the entry hall which resembles a cathedral. The hall is very beautiful with the stained glass, which is jewel-toned. The walls of the hall are decorated extravagantly. The Gallery of Honor displays the Museum’s collection from the 17th century.
The Night Watch is considered as a treasure of the Dutch nation. To add to the beauty, the painting is surrounded by many other similar paintings of the era, which one can see and understand contextually. The Night Watch is the portrayal of a local militia in Amsterdam at the early times. There were many such militias and their paintings surround the famous picture of Rembrandt.
The painting got its name as the “Night” Watch because the portrayal was thought to be of an incident that happens at night. However, later on, the removal of dirt and varnish from the painting, it was revealed that it portrays clear daytime. The Night Watch also has a history of vandalism. The vandals three times as history states targeted it. The most severe attack on the painting was in 1975, by an unemployed teacher who made repeated slashes on it with a knife. The picture was restored later but some of the cut marks can still be seen.
The outline of a trap door on the floor beneath the painting reveals how much loved and priced the painting is. This is the only painting in the whole gallery, which has such an arrangement to shift the painting to a safe place in case of fire or other threats.
If you are planning to go on a Rijksmuseum tour, make sure that you spend enough time near The Night Watch to adore the beauty of the painting.