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Hidden sketch revealed beneath Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

Jacob Scott

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A hidden sketch by Rembrandt has been discovered beneath the thick paint of the Dutch master’s most famous work, The Night Watch, revealing for the first time the artist’s original vision for the vast canvas.

The preparatory drawing, made with beige paint with a high chalk content, was found as a result of a two-and-a-half-year investigation by restorers, data experts and art historians at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The sketch reveals to researchers evidence of a series of changes Rembrandt van Rijn made to his arrangement of 34 different characters and the array of feathers, spears and swords around them, before the painting’s completion in 1642.

The Night Watch, depicting a militia under the command of Capt Frans Banninck Cocq, took three years to finish after being commissioned by Amsterdam’s civic guard for a banqueting hall at its Kloveniersdoelen headquarters.

The calcium map showing Rembrandt’s sketch in the upper part of the painting. Photograph: Rijksmuseum

Pieter Roelofs, the Rijksmuseum’s head of paintings, said it had been possible to make Rembrandt’s secret sketch visible through a “calcium map” of the work due to the artist’s use of a chalk-rich paint that could be picked up by the latest scanning technology.

He said: “We see straight lines and curves. With the curves he created an initial sketch for the architecture in the background. You may ask why is this so important? Well, it gives us the feeling we can peek over Rembrandt’s shoulder while he was working on The Night Watch.

“We always suspected that Rembrandt must have sketched it on the campus before starting this complex composition. But that was always an assumption.

“Now that we can see beneath the surface better than ever before, we now have the proof, 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. We’ve discovered the origins of The Night Watch.”

Since the summer of 2019, staff working on what they have called Operation Night Watch have been using the latest technology to seek out fresh insights into the painting ahead of its restoration.

Rembrandt used the impasto technique, involving the application of thick paint on the canvas to achieve a three-dimensional structure that reflects light.

Imaging methods were used to get beneath the layers. They found that Rembrandt originally painted feathers for the helmet of the militiaman Claes van Cruijsbergen, but later painted them over.

He sketched more spears than he painted, adjusted the leg position of sergeant Rombout Kemp and there are signs that there was an additional sword in the original between the captain and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburch.

“Why did Rembrandt change his mind, you might ask?” said Roelofs. “We don’t know. But probably he removed the feathers, because they drew too much attention as Van Cruijsbergen is in the centre of the composition.”

The main purpose of the latest research into The Night Watch was to prepare for its first restoration in over 40 years.

Despite the painting having endured a tumultuous four centuries, including transportation into a bunker in coastal dunes at the start of the second world war, its condition is said to be very good despite evidence of abrasion, discoloration and paint loss over time.

The priority, Roelofs said, was to tackle the deformation of the canvas seen in particular in its top left-hand corner, which is believed to have been happened during its stay in the Philips wing of the Rijksmuseum during the main building’s renovation between 2003 and 2013.

The 3.63-metre by 4.37-metre painting will be taken from its current wooden stretcher, the framework to which the painting has been held by metal tacks since 1975, said Petria Noble, the museum’s head of painting conservation.

She said: “We strongly feel that the wooden stretcher is contributing to the problem because a wooden stretch actually reacts differently to the canvas. It will then be put on to a new strainer, a non-reactive material, that we feel will actually be much more stable for the painting. The deformations are then expected to relax and the painting they will assume a flatter, more even surface.

“One of the first things that you actually need to do is to remove very gently and systematically those tacks. And of course we have to use some gentle weight to actually coax those deformations, that we see along the left and the right edges, out.”

The process will start in January and is expected to take up to three months, after which further possible conservation techniques will be considered, including removal of several varnish layers on the surface of the work.

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‘Moon Knight’ Took Marvel in a Different Orbit, but It Didn’t Rise to the Occasion

Jacob Scott

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Before anyone writes that off as an anomaly, “Eternals” tackled a similar introduction of a dense mythology on the bigger screen, with equally mixed results. It’s a reminder that while film-goers have had more than a decade to get to know characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, introducing some of these lesser-known heroes can pose a more formidable challenge beyond catering to the most ardent fans.
For Marvel, there are warning signs in that, since “Moon Knight” will be followed by several series based on second-tier characters, although the next two on the horizon, “Ms. Marvel” (which is due in June) and “She-Hulk,” at least have the benefit of sharing franchises and name recognition with existing Avengers.
Ultimately, “Moon Knight’s” murky storytelling appeared to squander its principal assets, which included the cool look of the character — a costume that was too seldom used — and the presence of Isaac, who possesses additional genre credentials via the “Star Wars” sequels.

Taking its time in peeling back the layers of the character’s complicated backstory, “Moon Knight” took a weird plunge into the Egyptian mythology behind it, in ways that became increasingly confounding and surreal.

By the time the protagonist’s two halves, Steven Grant and Marc Spector, wound up in a psychiatric hospital talking to an anthropomorphic hippo in the penultimate chapter, the question wasn’t so much being able to keep up with the story as whether bothering to do so was worth the effort.

The sixth and final episode brought the plot to a messy close, seeking to stop the goddess Ammit from proceeding to “purify the souls of Cairo, and then the world.” In the customary credit sequence, the producers capped that off by introducing a third personality, Jake Lockley, also rooted in the comics. While that seemingly spelled the end for the show’s villain (Ethan Hawke), the finish — giving the god Khonshu the protégé he sought — paved the way for further adventures should Marvel so choose.

That last twist might be cause for celebration in narrower confines of the Marvel fan universe, but “Moon Knight” too often felt like it was one long Easter-egg sequence, conspicuously preaching to that choir.

Granted, Marvel has made clear that Disney+ offers the chance to explore different kinds of stories, but “Moon Knight” feels at best like a quirky showcase for Isaac and at worst a failed experiment in terms of execution and tone.

That doesn’t mean this “Moon” won’t somehow rise again, if the closely held streaming data justifies it. But the promise that surrounded this property has faded, providing further evidence that even Marvel isn’t immune from setbacks as it moves into its next phase.

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Start-up Pony.ai says it’s the first self-driving company to get a taxi license in China

Jacob Scott

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Autonomous driving start-up Pony.ai can collect fares for robotaxi rides in parts of two major Chinese cities as of Sunday.

Pony.ai handout

BEIJING — Self-driving start-up Pony.ai announced Sunday it received a taxi license, the first of its kind in China.

The license allows Pony.ai to operate 100 self-driving cars as traditional taxis in the Nansha district of the southern city of Guangzhou, the company said.

The Chinese start-up, which is backed by Toyota, received approval from Beijing city late last year to charge fees to operate a commercial robotaxi business in a suburban district of the city. It is not the same as a taxi licence.

Baidu’s Apollo Go also received approval in the same Beijing district last year.

Pony.ai was valued at $8.5 billion in early March. The company said its Nansha taxi license required 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents, among other factors.

The start-up said it plans to launch commercial robotaxi businesses in two other large Chinese cities next year. The company is already testing self-driving cars in those cities and in California. 

Robotaxis in China currently have a human driver present for safety.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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How to watch Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies: TV channel, NBA live stream info, start time

Jacob Scott

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Who’s Playing

Memphis @ Minnesota

Current Records: Memphis 2-1; Minnesota 1-2

What to Know

The Memphis Grizzlies’ road trip will continue as they head to Target Center at 10 p.m. ET this past Saturday to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Memphis will be strutting in after a win while Minnesota will be stumbling in from a loss.

The Grizzlies are hoping for another victory. They beat the Timberwolves 104-95 this past Thursday. The victory came about thanks to a strong surge after the first quarter to overcome a 39-21 deficit. Memphis’ success was spearheaded by the efforts of power forward Brandon Clarke, who had 20 points in addition to eight rebounds, and shooting guard Desmond Bane, who shot 7-for-15 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points and six boards.

Barring any buzzer beaters, Memphis is expected to win a tight contest. They might be worth taking a chance on against the spread as they are currently on a two-game streak of ATS wins.

Memphis’ win brought them up to 2-1 while the Timberwolves’ defeat pulled them down to a reciprocal 1-2. A couple offensive stats to keep in the back of your head while watching: The Grizzlies come into the game boasting the second most points per game in the league at 115.6. But Minnesota is even better: they rank first in the league when it comes to points per game, with 115.9 on average. Tune in for what’s sure to be a high-scoring contest.

How To Watch

When: Saturday at 10 p.m. ET Where: Target Center — Minneapolis, Minnesota TV: ESPN Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.) Follow: CBS Sports App Ticket Cost: $76.96

Odds

The Grizzlies are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Grizzlies as a 3-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Memphis have won 19 out of their last 28 games against Minnesota.

Apr 21, 2022 – Memphis 104 vs. Minnesota 95 Apr 19, 2022 – Memphis 124 vs. Minnesota 96 Apr 16, 2022 – Minnesota 130 vs. Memphis 117 Feb 24, 2022 – Minnesota 119 vs. Memphis 114 Jan 13, 2022 – Memphis 116 vs. Minnesota 108 Nov 20, 2021 – Minnesota 138 vs. Memphis 95 Nov 08, 2021 – Memphis 125 vs. Minnesota 118 May 05, 2021 – Memphis 139 vs. Minnesota 135 Apr 02, 2021 – Memphis 120 vs. Minnesota 108 Jan 13, 2021 – Memphis 118 vs. Minnesota 107 Jan 07, 2020 – Memphis 119 vs. Minnesota 112 Dec 01, 2019 – Memphis 115 vs. Minnesota 107 Nov 06, 2019 – Memphis 137 vs. Minnesota 121 Mar 23, 2019 – Minnesota 112 vs. Memphis 99 Feb 05, 2019 – Memphis 108 vs. Minnesota 106 Jan 30, 2019 – Minnesota 99 vs. Memphis 97 Nov 18, 2018 – Memphis 100 vs. Minnesota 87 Apr 09, 2018 – Minnesota 113 vs. Memphis 94 Mar 26, 2018 – Memphis 101 vs. Minnesota 93 Dec 04, 2017 – Memphis 95 vs. Minnesota 92 Feb 04, 2017 – Memphis 107 vs. Minnesota 99 Nov 19, 2016 – Memphis 93 vs. Minnesota 71 Nov 01, 2016 – Minnesota 116 vs. Memphis 80 Oct 26, 2016 – Memphis 102 vs. Minnesota 98 Mar 16, 2016 – Minnesota 114 vs. Memphis 108 Feb 19, 2016 – Memphis 109 vs. Minnesota 104 Jan 23, 2016 – Minnesota 106 vs. Memphis 101 Nov 15, 2015 – Memphis 114 vs. Minnesota 106

Injury Report for Minnesota

No Injury Information

Injury Report for Memphis

Dillon Brooks: Game-Time Decision (Foot) Santi Aldama: Out (Knee) Killian Tillie: Out (Knee)

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