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A thief in a garish feathered hat runs out of a shopping mall store with a leather bag clutched in his hand. He jumps down the stairs and tries desperately to escape as ropes descend down the mall’s atrium. Guards emerge to catch the criminal — but they’re on horseback, dressed in brimmed caps, and decked out with ruffled collars. A regiment of guards on foot marches toward the thief with halberds outstretched. After they catch the would-be escapee, a frame falls from the ceiling of the mall and brackets a view of proud policemen: This is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.”
A group of Dutch actors staged this real-life version of Rembrandt’s iconic painting of 1642, which depicts a company led by Captain Frans Banning Cocq, in an Amsterdam mall, using the central space as a theatrical set for the drama of the canvas. The reenactment, documented in the video below, celebrates the reopening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, which just launched its new space after a decade-long renovation. The renovation restores “The Night Watch” to its central location; it’s the only object in the museum that stayed in the exact same place, reports the Associated Press.
Echoed by the shopping mall 17th-century flash-mob stunt, the painting shows a phalanx of armed men posing proudly as a group. Stretching almost 12 feet by 14.5 feet, the canvas itself is massive. It was completed at the height of the Dutch Golden Age, when group portraiture was a popular method of showing social and political stature. One of Rembrandt’s many innovations in the piece was to capture the crew with a sense of arrested motion — rather than acting as an austere, static portrait, the painting shows each figure in the process of completing an action: pointing a spear, cleaning a gun, or gesturing in the act of speech. The theatrics of actual actors running around in imitation of his dramatic painting would doubtless make the artist proud. Now where’s the Caravaggio reenactment?
Editor’s Note: This endorsement is part of a special edition that Hyperallergic published on the ongoing legal case to return the photos of Renty and Delia Taylor to their descendants. * * * Your Honour — On April 11, 2018, The New York Times published a report on the differential outcomes for maternal and infant…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…