4 Jun 2015

Rembrandt Remastered

From Nine To Noon, 10:05 am on 4 June 2015

The 17th century Dutch painter Rembrandt is believed to have painted 330 works. They are spread across 18 countries. However 52 of them are not accessible, as they are either held in private collections, were stolen or are missing.

The long running Rembrandt Research Project in the Netherlands has tracked down and photographed all of those works, which have then been digitally remastered to their original state and size.

Fifty-seven of the digital reproductions are now in New Zealand, including The Storm on the Sea of Galilee which was stolen in 1990 from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in what was the biggest art theft in US history. It has never been recovered.

The exhibition which opens on Friday 5th June 2015 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington, will also feature arguably his most famous work, The Night Watch. 

The original painting on display in Amsterdam is four metres wide and 3 metres high, but the remastered version has added a side that was cut off when it was first painted so it could fit on a wall.

The curator of the New Zealand tour, Erin Griffey, the head of art history at Auckland University is an international expert on seventeenth-century portraiture and the work of the Dutch masters.  

She says getting the original works to New Zealand would be impossible as many of the galleries will not loan them out. But these pictures are more than just photographic reproductions. "The latest most sophisticated technology was used. They are very high quality resolution images which get the colours exactly as they were".

Erin Griffey spoke with Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon.