Museum Officials Discover ‘Preparatory Sketch’ Behind Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ Painting

Photo by REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Taylor Penley Contributor
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Classical art experts now have proof to sustain their speculations that Rembrandt van Rijn’s iconic painting “The Night Watch” was sketched before being painted, according to The Associated Press.

Using high-tech imaging technology, officials were able to see inside the mind of the Dutch painter and travel through the process he took to create his masterpiece, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Initial scans revealed a “preparatory sketch” buried beneath the thick paint exterior.

“It gives us the feeling we can peek over Rembrandt’s shoulder while he was working on ‘The Night Watch,’” Pieter Roelofs, the museum’s head of paintings and sculpture said, according to The AP. (RELATED: Painter Of ‘The Scream’ Left A Barely Visible Message On The Masterpiece That Calls Attention To His Mental State).

“This gives us real insight into Rembrandt’s creative process for the first time. It is fascinating to see how he’s searched for the right composition,” he added. “We’ve discovered the origins of ‘The Night Watch.’”

Investigators took two-and-a-half years to discover the preliminary sketching they say Rembrandt made with “beige paint and a high chalk content,” according to The Guardian.

The scans also revealed changes the painting may have undergone during the drafting phase, the outlet added.

The 379-year-old oil on canvas painting that depicts an Amsterdam civil militia, is currently housed in the city’s Rijksmuseum and is expected to undergo restorative treatments in the coming days to remove rippling caused by “excessive climatic fluctuations in the gallery” during temporary relocation as its home underwent renovations several years ago, The AP reported.

Museum officials expect to remove the canvas from its old wooden stretcher and replace it with a new one to combat the rippling.