"The Night Watch" (03:35)
Refugees flocked to Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age in search of religious freedom and employment. Cornelius Ketel set standards for the civic group portrait to be displayed in the Militia Shooting Company gallery. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's painting stands out for its dimensions, figures, details, and chiaroscuro.
Rembrandt's History (02:11)
Born in Leiden, Rembrandt left school to concentrate on painting and married Saskia after relocating to Amsterdam. Portuguese Jews and French Huguenots expanded trade as the city extended its canals. Louis XIV invaded after the painter's death in 1672.
Meaning Behind "The Night Watch" (02:01)
The chiaroscuro impacts the painting more than its color, highlighting certain figures. The Saltire, lion, and crown, emphasized in the lieutenant's coat, are the emblems of Amsterdam. Joost van den Vondel challenged Rembrandt to paint a picture of Claesz Anslo.
Volunteer Soldiers (03:40)
Middle-class men who volunteered to protect the cities comprised the militia; city leaders selected its captain. Learn different interpretations of "The Night Watch." Amsterdam allowed Marie de Medici to come to the city after her exile for trading purposes.
Rembrandt's Focus (03:21)
Rembrandt was considered debauched and extravagant. Captain Frans Banning Cocq wanted a full-length portrait to demonstrate his future glory. Rembrandt found critical success for "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp." Andreas Vesalius and Jan Swammerdam contributed to medical research.
Tulip Mania and the Slave Trade (04:16)
Dr. Tulp chose his nickname in honor of the tulip; Rembrandt and the flower changed the United Provinces. The Dutch West India Company arose, trading slaves instead of spice. Frans Post painted the first images of the new world.
Painters as Paupers (05:47)
When "The Night's Watch" was moved to Amsterdam's City Hall, curators reduced the size of the canvas. Eighteen people contributed at least 100 florins a piece to appear in the painting; an escutcheon was added at a later date to include their names. Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, and Rembrandt died owing money.
Credits: Rembrandt: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings (00:37)
Credits: Rembrandt: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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