This iconic artwork is complete for the first time in 300 years
thanks to artificial intelligence
Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF RIJKSMUSEUM, TACO DIBBITS, SAYING: "So about 300 years ago, "The Night Watch" was moved from its original place, the clubhouse of the civic guards, to the town hall, where it had to fit in between two doors. It didn't fit, so the movers took scissors and cut on all sides strips off. The largest strip was about 60 centimetres, so quite a bit. And we knew this, that they were cut off, because we have a copy from the 17th century that still shows the entire composition. It's a small copy though, and on the basis of this copy and a very detailed photograph that we took of "The Night Watch", we threw artificial intelligence towards a computer to reconstruct these missing pieces."
Restorers and computer scientists recreated the strips
based on a copy of the artwork by another artist of the time
blended with Rembrandt’s own style
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR SCIENTIST AT RIJKSMUSEUM, ROBERT ERDMANN, SAYING:"The computer even learns how to hallucinate cracks, because that's part of 'The Night Watch'. So, we don't really care about this, the middle part, because we already have 'The Night Watch' and that's definitely better than what the computer can imagine. But now we can use these parts on the left, right top and bottom where we don't know what the answer is and then combine the two. So, this is the final result. What you can see here is that the, if I show you, 'The Night Watch' currently ends here at the back of his helmet. So everything to the left of this is the reconstruction."