Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” one of the iconic works of the Dutch Golden Age, was returned to its home in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum on Wednesday after nearly a decade-long renovation of the 130-year-old structure.
The oil painting, 12 feet by nearly 15 feet and officially titled “The Company of captain Frans Banning Cocq and lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch preparing to march out,” had hung in an adjacent wing of the world-renown museum while the main building was being refurbished.
“The Night Watch” is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world and is arguably the best-known work in the Rijksmuseum.
The 17th-century work was protected by a specially designed 660-pound steel frame, a foam insulation layer and a protective blanket while it was returned to its original room in the museum, according to Agence France-Presse.
The climate-controlled crate was designed by Dutch electronics firm Philips, the same container used to move the painting originally in 2003.
Dozens of police stood guard as the work was slid into the crate and cranes were used to lift it out of one gallery and into another, according to the Associated Press.
The Rijksmuseum is set to reopen with a special ceremony featuring Dutch Queen Beatrix on April 13.
“The Night Watch” is noted for size, use of light and shadow, and the perception of motion.
Completed in 1642, at the peak of the Dutch Golden Age, “The Night Watch” has been housed at the Rijksmuseum since its opening in 1885.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) is considered the most important painter in Dutch history, no small feat in a nation that produced such artistic greats as Vermeer, Hals and Steen, to name but a few.
(Above: The Night Watch,” by Rembrandt, 1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.)