Rembrandt painting 'The Night Watch' restored to original size using artificial intelligence

The colossal artwork was cut at the sides in 1715 for it to be passed through the doors of Amsterdam's city hall

TOPSHOT - The remounted 1642 'Night Watch' is put in place at the Rijksmuseum Museum during 'Operation Night Watch',  the largest ever investigation into the painting by Dutch master Rembrandt in Amsterdam on June 22, 2021.   Using advanced technology the museum is able to determines how best to preserve the masterpiece for future generations.  - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION
 / AFP / ANP / Remko de Waal / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION
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Rembrandt's The Night Watch has been incomplete for 300 years. But now, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the 1642 painting can be imagined in its full again.

On display at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, the work by the Dutch painter is colossal – measuring almost 12 by 14 feet, or 363 centimetres by 437cm. It was cut at the sides in 1715 in order for it to be passed through the doors of Amsterdam's city hall.

About 60cm of the canvas was trimmed on the left side, 7cm from the right, 22cm from the top and 12cm from the bottom, according to The Guardian.

Using high-resolution photography of the original work, the AI was able to recreate the missing parts in Rembrandt’s style. From the photograph, algorithms were able to study and correct the perspective of the painting, recognise the right colours to utilise for the various elements and to copy the brushstrokes of the Dutch master.

Poeple look at Rembrandt's famed Night Watch, which is back on display in what researchers say in its original size, with missing parts temporarily restored in an exhibition aided by artificial intelligence, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands June 23, 2021. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

The resulting images were then printed on canvas and attached next to the painting at the museum, giving a new display for visitors that puts new and old technology side by side.

A key work from the Dutch Golden Age, the painting was commissioned by Captain Banninck Cocq and members of his civic militia guard.

The military portrait is admired for the artist’s dramatic contrasts between light and shadow, and the way he highlights certain characters according to the light. With his technique, Rembrandt was also able to bring dynamism to the painting, giving it a feel of movement.

With the added parts by AI, the painting now includes more figures – two militiamen and a boy. It also shifts the centre of the painting, revealing an empty space on the left side of the painting, as if to suggest that the subjects were marching forward towards that direction.

The AI additions will now be on view at the Rijksmuseum for three months.

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