Rembrandt

How a long-lost Rembrandt painting found its way to the Getty Museum

When the small painting with a slightly damaged surface and cracks in its wood backing materialised in September at an auction house in New Jersey, no one expected great things. First and foremost was its murky provenance: The name of the artist was unknown, and so was the date of its creation. The auction house estimated that the work would sell for $500 to $800.

“We had no idea when it came up to sale that there were about to be fireworks,” said John Nye, who runs the Bloomfield, N.J.-based Nye and Co.

In a matter of months, the seemingly unremarkable painting would become the talk of the international art world after it was judged to be a long-lost work by the 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn.

This fake Rembrandt was created by an algorithm

The subject, brushstrokes, and colour of this painting all bear classic hallmarks of a Rembrandt. But it’s actually been designed by a computer and created by a 3D printer.

The work was created by teams from Dutch museums Mauritshuis and Rembranthuis, alongside Microsoft, ING and the Delft University of Technology. Creating a faithful replication of a Rembrandt painting required huge amounts of data, with the team describing it was a “marriage” between technology and art.

Computer paints 'new Rembrandt' after old works analysis

How long before anyone can copy any artist? A team of technologists working with Microsoft and others have produced a 3D-printed painting in the style of Dutch master Rembrandt.

The portrait was created after existing works by the artist were analysed by a computer. A new work was then designed to look as much like a Rembrandt as possible - while remaining an original portrait. It was then 3D-printed to give it the same texture as an oil painting.