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Displaying items by tag: Rembrandt's Night Watch

This photograph shows staff at the Rijksmuseum holding their breath as Rembrandt’s Night Watch (1642) is unrolled on its return to the Amsterdam museum in June 1945, at the end of the Second World War. The work had been shipped to Kasteel Radboud in Medemblik, north of Amsterdam, for safekeeping. Since its wartime evacuation, the canvas has been subjected to two assaults by members of the public, the most recent in 1990, when a “confused” man sprayed it with sulphuric acid. Fortunately, the substance did not penetrate the varnish.

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Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” and other famed works by Dutch masters will return to their permanent home by 2013, as a radical decade-long renovation of the national Rijksmuseum nears completion.

A sneak preview Wednesday showed the 19th-century museum both modernized and closer to its original plan. Its red-brick exterior, reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle, remains intact. Inside, maze-like corridors have been scrapped in favor of large spaces and high ceilings, with a central “gallery of honor” restored to its initial appearance, evoking the vault of a gothic cathedral.

Spokesman Boris de Munnick said the design sacrificed some wall space in favor of better flow and simplicity. But the museum also gained space by moving administrative offices offsite and by expanding underground.

The museum will house around 7,500 works of art for public viewing, around the same amount as before renovations began in 2003. However the museum is expected to receive up to 2 million visitors annually, from the 1.2 million that uncomfortably crowded its halls by the 1990s.

Originally scheduled for completion by 2009, the €375 million ($536 million) renovation has faced several setbacks, notably an “only-in-Amsterdam” fight over bicycle access.

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