The 'Nightwatch' (in Dutch: 'Nachtwacht') is the most famous painting on display in Amsterdam. It was made by Rembrandt van Rijn, probably between 1639 and 1642.
It depicts the eponymous company moving out, led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq (dressed in black, with a red sash) and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburch (dressed in yellow, with a white sash).
The painting is well-known because of its use of light, its large size, and perhaps most of all, the way Rembrandt painted the figures. What would normally have become a rather static group of people, now become a lively scene.
The painting has even been larger than it is now. In 1715 it was cut down on all 4 sides to fit it into its new place in the Amsterdam town hall.
During the second World War, the painting was hidden in a castle in Medemblik, to hide it from the German occupation forces.
After the war, it was brought back to the Rijksmuseum.
Nachtwacht (NIght Watch) by Rembrandt
Nightwatch group on Rembrandtplein
Nightwatch by Rembrandt, detail