10.02.
Do 19:00
Museum Ludwig, Kinosaal
KunstBewusst, Vortrag

Operation Night Watch: the research and treatment of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

Petria Noble

Veranstaltungsort: Kinosaal des Museum Ludwig / Vortrag in englischer Sprache!

EINTRITT: Mitglieder kostenfrei, 4€ für Nicht-Mitglieder (2€ ermäßigt)

Die Nachtwache des Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn gehört zu den wenigen Kunstwerken bei denen sowohl die Bezeichnung „überwältigend“ als auch „weltberühmt“ der Wahrheit entsprechen. Kaum ein Amsterdam-Reisender kommt umhin dieses wohl bekannteste und vielleicht auch rätselhafteste Gemälde des als grimmig verschrienen und nichtsdestotrotz hochbegehrten Porträtisten Rembrandt gesehen zu haben.

Ähnlich der Mona Lisa des Leonardo oder der Geburt der Venus des Botticelli schaut es von unzähligen Plakaten und Postern auf die Flaneure der Grachtenstadt und ziert so manche im Souvernir-Shop erstandene Kaffeetasse. Doch in den vergangenen Jahren hat das zur Ikone des niederländischen Barock und seines „Star-Malers“ Rembrandt avancierte Bildnis einer Amsterdamer Schützengilde unter der Führung des Hauptmann Frans Banninck Cocq und des Leutnant Willem van Ruytenburch vor allem durch seine umfassende kunsttechnologische Untersuchung für Furore in der Kunstwelt sowie in der internationalen Presse gesorgt.

Petria Noble, die als Leiterin der Abteilung für Konservierung und Restaurierung von Gemälden im Rijksmuseum Amsterdam die zeit- wie kostenintensive Restaurierung der rembrandtschen Nachtwache verantwortet, wird uns Einblicke in ihre Arbeit an einem der weltweit meistbeachteten Restaurierungsprojekte unserer Zeit geben. Sie wird uns sowohl davon berichten was es für sie uns ihr Team bedeutet an ein Kunstwerk diesen Ranges unter den „Argusaugen“ der Öffentlichkeit Hand anzulegen und welche neuen Erkenntnissen zur Entstehungsgeschichte wie Malweise des gefeierten Künstlers gewinnen konnten.

• Die gebürtige Australierin Petria Noble machte nach ihrem Studium eine Restauratoren-Ausbildung am Institute of Fine Arts der New York University und absolvierte danach ein Praktikum am Metropolitan Museum in New York. 1996 wurde sie zur Gemälderestauratorin am Mauritshuis in Den Haag ernannt. Von 2005–2014 war sie als Leiterin der Abteilung Restaurierung am Mauritshuis an zahlreichen Forschungsprojekten beteiligt. Seit September 2014 leitet sie die Abteilung für Gemälderestaurierung am Amsterdamer Rijksmuseum. Seitdem hat sie die Abteilung erweitert, mehr Gewicht auf die technische Untersuchung und Behandlungsgeschichte von Gemälden gelegt und den Blick darauf gelenkt, wie diese Aspekte zu einem tieferen Verständnis der materiellen Aspekte und des Zustands von Kunstwerken beitragen. Im Laufe ihres beruflichen Werdegangs hat sie eine Reihe bedeutender Gemälde von Rembrandt van Rijn behandelt, darunter Die Anatomie des Dr. Tulp, Der lachende Mann, Tronie eines Mannes mit Federbarett, Susanna, Homer, Saul und David und in jüngerer Zeit die Doppelporträts von Marten Soolmans und Oopjen Coppit. Aktuell forscht sie vor allem zur Nachtwache. Sie hat zahlreiche Artikel zu den technischen Aspekten von Rembrandts Gemälden veröffentlicht und hält regelmäßig Vorträge.

English version:
Operation Night Watch: the research and treatment of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

Operation Night Watch is the largest research and conservation project that Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch from 1642 has ever undergone. The monumental canvas painting whose official title is Officers and other civic guardsmen of District II in Amsterdam, under the command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch is Rembrandt’s largest preserved painting measuring h 379 x w 453 cm. Starting in July 2019 the painting was researched in situ, in the Night Watch gallery, inside a glass enclosure in full view of the public. Using the most advanced research techniques and ground breaking computer technology the aim of the research was to gain a better understanding of the creation process and the condition of the painting.

Research techniques include state-of-the-art chemical imaging technologies, high-resolution photography and advanced computer analysis, as well as microscopy and molecular studies of paint samples. This combination of macro- and micro scale research techniques allows us to study the painting technique, paint build-up and materials of The Night Watch in unprecedented detail. The data was studied by the multidisciplinary Night Watch research team consisting of curators, conservators and scientists. Collaboration with scientists and researchers from other institutions, including AkzoNobel, and – among others – the University of Antwerp, Amsterdam UMC, TU Delft and TU Eindhoven has also been essential.

Research questions posed by the research team include: was The Night Watch originally meant to be so dark? What is that whitish haze in dark areas of the painting? What is the condition of the dog? What more can we find out about the pigments Rembrandt used in The Night Watch? Which materials did Rembrandt use to create the dark shadow tones? How did Rembrandt create his impasto effects? How did Rembrandt develop such a large and ambitious composition? What is the impact of the numerous treatments on the appearance of The Night Watch? What is the condition of the wax-resin lining that applied in 1975? These are just some of the questions that have been asked.

Research into the treatment history of the painting was also carried out both before, and as part of Operation Night Watch. This has revealed that the painting has undergone some 30 documented treatments during its almost 400-year history, including numerous regenerations, cleanings and linings. These treatments have helped shaped the appearance and condition of the painting we see today. It is more than 45 years ago that the painting underwent its last major restoration following a brutal knife attack in September 1975. The subsequent restoration that took place in 1975-76 involved relining of the painting, as well as cleaning, retouching and varnishing.

Information gleaned from both research into the treatment history and scientific analyses has proven essential to come to a better understanding about the condition and original appearance of the painting, including the changes that have taken place over time. Many discoveries were made during the research, including Rembrandt’s initial sketch in a light-coloured chalk-rich paint, something that has never been seen before. Research also revealed many more small changes to the composition and that Rembrandt used a richer and more diverse colour palette than was previously thought. Interpretation is still ongoing as the data continues to be interpreted.

In his presentation, various aspects of the project will be presented, including the different research techniques used to study the painting, the challenges involved, the most important research results including the discovery of the initial chalk-rich sketch. The condition of the painting and the structural treatment that is currently taking place in preparation for re-tensioning of the painting, will also be presented.

• Petria Noble who is originally from Australia, undertook post-graduate training in conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. This was followed by an internship at the MET in New York. In 1996 she was appointed Conservator of Paintings at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. From 2005-2014 as Head of Conservation at the Mauritshuis she initiated or was involved in numerous research projects. Since joining the Rijksmuseum as Head of Paintings Conservation in September 2014. she has expanded the department laying more emphasis on technical study and the treatment history of paintings, and how these aspects contribute to a deeper understanding of the material aspects and condition of works of art. Over the course of her career, she has treated a number of major paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn, including The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, Laughing Man, Tronie‘ of a Man with a Feathered Beret, Susanna, Homer, Saul and David and more recently, the portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit. Her current research focus is The Night Watch. She has published numerous articles on technical aspects of Rembrandt paintings and has lectured regularly throughout her career.

Bildcredits

Rembrandt, Die Nachtwache, 1642, Öl auf Leinwand, 363 x 437 cm, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Bildausschnitt; Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Night_Watch_-_HD.jpg)