A Rembrandt Made Of Technology and Data Unveiled in Amsterdam

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"The Next Rembrandt" was unveiled today in Amsterdam, a new painting created from historical Rembrandt data

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All I can say about the outcome is that I see a person. Not a computer image. For me, it shows that this marriage between data and art is only in the honeymoon stage.

J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam today unveiled “The Next Rembrandt," a 3D-printed painting made solely from data derived from Rembrandt’s body of work.

"The Next Rembrandt" was created using data from Rembrandt’s 346 known paintings, by employing deep learning algorithms and facial recognition techniques. The portrait consists of over 148 million pixels, based on 168,263 painting fragments from Rembrandt’s oeuvre.

Focusing on the work of Rembrandt (1606-1669), one of the world’s greatest painters and a key figure in Dutch history, the project is designed to stimulate conversation around the impact of science and data on the art world, and the evolving relationship between technology and emotion.

The process to create the finished 3D-printed painting took over 18 months, following painstaking work involving a team of data scientists, developers and Rembrandt experts.

Analysis of Rembrandt’s work helped experts arrive at the ideal subject for the new portrait; a Caucasian male aged between 30 and 40, with facial hair, wearing black clothes with a white collar and a hat, facing to the right.

A facial-recognition algorithm learned Rembrandt’s techniques; pixel data helped the computer mimic brushstrokes; and an advanced 3D printer brought the painting to life using 13 layers of ink.

The project is a cooperation between presenting partner ING Bank, advertising agency J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, supporting partner Microsoft, and advisors from TU Delft, The Mauritshuis and The Rembrandt House Museum.

At http://www.nextrembrandt.com, the story behind this unique painting is explained in full detail. After the launch, "The Next Rembrandt" will be on public display in a location that will be disclosed in a later phase.

Tjitske Benedictus, Head of Sponsoring at ING, says:
“ING is always looking for innovations that empower people in their daily lives. This project is about bringing that innovative spirit to one of our main sponsorships, that of Dutch art and culture. We want to make technology relevant, and learn more about one of the greatest Dutch painters of all time: Rembrandt.”

Ron Augustus, Director SMB Markets, Microsoft, says:
“This project shows a spark of the possibilities of intelligent data. Data is the new electricity – it has huge potential to help people and companies to achieve more. The project brings together my true passions: the way companies can grow efficiently by the use of technology, and my background in art history. It is not often that these two worlds come together.”

Bas Korsten, Executive Creative Director, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, said:
“When we embarked on this journey, we didn’t know the outcome. Can you teach a computer how to paint like Rembrandt? All I can say about the outcome is that I see a person. Not a computer image. For me, it shows that this marriage between data and art is only in the honeymoon stage.”

All assets, among which are the launch film and photos of the actual painting, can be found and downloaded here.

J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has been creating pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Headquartered in New York, J. Walter Thompson is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. The agency consistently ranks among the top networks in the world and continues to be a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from hiring the industry’s first female copywriter to developing award-winning branded content today. For more information, please visit http://www.jwt.com and follow us @JWT_Worldwide.

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Jocelyn Weiss Malas
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