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The Night Watch By Rembrandt Gets Restored With Artificial Intelligence

The Night Watch, one of the finest works of Dutch artist Rembrandt, has been restored to good condition with the help of artificial intelligence.


The painting in question is Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq by Rembrandt, commonly known as The Night Watch. The Dutch master painted the work in 1642, considered one of his best works as well as a fine example of Dutch Golden Era of art. However, the painting was greatly damaged some years after the artist’s death. In 1715, the painting was moved to the City Hall in Amsterdam. There, it was supposed to hang in a gallery, but the painting was larger than the spot it was designated. Unwittingly, the administrators at the gallery significant portions of the painting from the side, top, and bottom. These removed parts were later lost.

For more than three centuries, The Night Watch has hung in such mutilated form – until now. The Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands has owned the painting since 1885 and counts it among the best works in its collection. In 2019, the museum announced Operation Night Watch – an ambitious effort to restore the painting. The multi-million dollar effort employed the use of artificial intelligence to replicate the lost potions of the painting and seamlessly add them to the original. (Read more about the AI process in this report by Art News)

Over the years, multiple restorations have been attempted on the painting – some of which further damaged it. The museum also plans to undo those damages in subsequent attempts. The painting went on display on Wednesday and will continue to hang there till September this year.