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12 Mar 2019 - 12:40 CET

Augmented reality app brings Rembrandt painting to life

At the historical site of the Waag in the heart of Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis Museum and Nationale-Nederlanden have brought one of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings to virtual life. The painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp from 1632, which has a prominent place in the museum, is one of the highlights of the year of Rembrandt.

With a augmented reality experience never previously seen in the museum world, the viewer can digitally enter the Anatomical Theatre of 1632 to study Dr Tulp’s fellow physicians and the object of their examination, the body of Aris Kindt. Now, 350 years after the death of the world-famous Dutch master, anyone with the Rembrandt Reality app can take a peek inside the work.

‘This is a new, modern way of looking at art, the painting experience of the future’, said Emilie Gordenker, director of the Mauritshuis. ‘Rembrandt was a pioneering painter. He used new techniques to achieve a new visual language. And 350 years later, he still inspires us. Using augmented reality technology, you place the anatomical theatre in your living room or on the street, allowing you to enter a portal to the inner circle. You become a witness to the anatomical lesson of the time and are looking – as it were – over Rembrandt’s shoulder. In this way, you begin to understand why he made certain choices, and you experience the 17th-century context.’

‘We are proud of this innovative way to bring one of Rembrandt’s fascinating paintings to a wider audience. You are literally entering one of his paintings,’ explains Dailah Nihot, member of the NN Group Management Board. ‘We have recently extended our collaboration with the Mauritshuis for three years, and this unique digital concept is a good match for our joint ambition to reach new target groups. It fits with our goal of helping to make art and culture accessible to everyone and to make a positive contribution to society.’

The Rembrandt Reality app is available, free of charge, from the App Store and Google Play Store from 12 March. The app works for smart devices that are no more than two years old. For more information, please visit the Mauritshuis website.