Learn about Rembrandt’s most beautiful and famous works at the Rijksmuseum.

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nachtwacht The 'Night Watch’, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, 1642Rembrandt is the most famous of seventeenth-century Dutch painters. At the Rijksmuseum you can learn all about this genius. Who was he, what set him apart and who were his friends, his loves, his competitors and his customers? At the Rijksmuseum you can see not only the largest but also the most representative collection of works spanning his entire career. Displayed in the context of Rembrandt’s era and his contemporaries, here his story comes to life. Of course you can also see the fascinating Night Watch, Rembrandt’s most famous painting.

Who’s that girl

meisje Rembrandt’s wife Saskia died in same the year that he painted The Night Watch. She never got to see the finished canvas. Legend has it that Rembrandt paid tribute to his deceased wife by giving the girl in the picture her face. Whatever the case, the girl herself is a symbol of the militia company that commissioned this painting. That’s why there is a chicken with its claws clearly visible dangling from her belt, with behind it – and slightly harder to see – a type of musket used by the guardsmen, known as a klover. A bird’s claw and musket were the company symbols, from which they also took their name – the Kloveniers. But perhaps the main reason for the girl in the painting is that she captures light in the most beautiful way. And with that, she is the ‘painted proof’ of Rembrandt's special talent.

The Night Watch

The Night Watch is Rembrandt’s largest (379.5 cm high and 453.5 cm wide!) and most famous painting and is the centrepiece of the Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour. It was painted in 1642 for one of the meeting halls of Amsterdam’s civic guard, a militia company that protected the city. Rembrandt was the first artist to paint a group portrait with the figures in action and telling a story. The captain, dressed in black, is instructing his lieutenant to give the company orders to march. The guardsmen are taking their places. Rembrandt used light to draw our attention to important details, such as the captain’s gesture and the girl in the background. In fact, The Night Watch is filled with interesting details that you can discover at the Rijksmuseum or preview here using our Rijksstudio.

More Rembrandt

Tip: Rembrandt tour

In the Rembrandt tour you can learn all about this genius. Who was he, what set him apart and who were his friends, his loves, his competitors and his customers?

Shop for Rembrandt

rembrandt The museum shop and webshop carry an assortment of products inspired by Rembrandt. Every bit as diverse as the artist himself, the Rembrandt collection includes mugs inspired by the lace on Marten & Oopjen’s clothing, jewellery and accessories, shawls, posters, Playmobil and lots more.

To celebrate Rembrandt's birthday (Saturday 15 July), we have a special offer; the Late Rembrandt Catalogue is now availbele for only € 10.

More Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous museums in the world. The collection features masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age including paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, and of course Rembrandt. Besides the Gallery of Honour, the Rijksmuseum has another 80 rooms telling the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history in a total of 8,000 objects. Tip: book a guided Highlights tour to see all the museum’s masterpieces in one hour. This tour is also available as a multimedia tour or to download free of charge in the Rijksmuseum App.