Operation Night Watch

July 9, 2019

Crown Fine Art are proud to support the Rijksmuseum in the start of Operation Night Watch by moving the painting by Rembrandt (1642) for the third time.

Rijksmuseum officially started Operation Night Watch on the 8th July, being the biggest and most wide-ranging research and conservation project in the history of Rembrandt’s masterpiece. The latest and most advanced research techniques will be used, ranging from digital imagery and scientific and technical research, to computer science and artificial intelligence. Research will lead to a better understanding of the paintings original appearance and current state. Providing insight into the changes that The Night Watch has undergone over the course of the last 4 centuries.

One week before Operation Night Watch was to commence, Crown Fine Art moved the painting to a different part of the gallery, so the glass case can be installed.  With 10 Crown Fine Art technicians transporting the 337 kg painting into the waiting chamber. To make sure the move could be performed safely, our carpenter shop fabricated a special mobile frame on wheels.

How do you move a painting measuring 3.79m x 4.53m that weighs 337kg? Here you can see how Crown Fine Art moved The Night Watch to the temporary location in the Gallery of Honour.


The Night Watch has been moved only a handful of times with Crown Fine Art organising the move in 2003 and 2013.

Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum General Director mentioned “Any move of any painting, especially The Night Watch, which is such a large painting, you always have to be very careful and ensure it is precisely done”.

On 7th July the painting was moved from the wall and placed into the special fabricated mobile frame on wheels where it was unframed. From here it was taken by hand into the glass case onto a specially created hydraulic lift to limit vibrations.

You can watch the largest and most complex public art restoration ever live online.


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