Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn: The Company of captain Frans Banning Cocq and lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch preparing to march out (also known as 'The Night Watch'), (1639-1642)

(Rijksmuseum, amsterdam, The Netherlands)

One of the most famous Dutch paintings and certainly the most well known Dutch painting from the 17th century. This painting is also a civic guard piece (Dutch: 'schuttersstuk') and shows civic guards from the Kloveniers civic guard from Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam was divided into 20 districts and each district had its own civic guard company (around 250-350 men), these men are from district 2 in Amsterdam. Depicted on the painting are (from left ot right):

- Sergeant Reinier Engelen
- running small boy (fictional person)
- Jan Pietersen Bronchorst
- sword-and-bucklerman Herman Jacobsen Wormskerck
- musketeer Elbert Willemsen
- musketeer Jan van der Heede (in red uniform)
- the small girl in yellow dress (fictional person)
- standardbearer Jan Visscher Cornelissen
- sword-and-bucklerman Claes van Cruijsbergen
- captain Frans Banning Cocq, lord of Purmerlandt and Ilpendam (dressed in black, with a red sash)
- Pikeman Jan Ockersen
- Quartermaster (Kapitein d'armes) Jan Adriaensen Keijser 
- lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch, lord of Vlaerdingen (dressed in yellow, with a white sash)  
- Pikeman Walich Schellingwou
- musketeer Jan Claesen Leijdeckers
- Pikeman Barent Harmansen Bolhamer
- Sergeant Rombout Kemp
- Pikeman Paulus Schoonhoven
- drummer Jacob Jorisz (not a member of the company, he was hired and added to the painting for free)

The girl in yellow dress is probably not a real person but fictional. She carries the symbols of the kloveniers civic guard: the  claws of a dead chicken on her belt represent the clauweniers (arquebusiers); the pistol behind the chicken stands for 'clover', yellow stands for victory.
The painting was commissioned by Frans Banning Cocq in 1639 and hung in the great hall of the 'Kloveniersdoelen' (the targetpractice-building and clubhouse of the Kloveniers civic guard) in Amsterdam. Rembrandt recieved 1,600 guilders for this painting (a large amount of money at that time). Frans Banning Cocq was very pleased with the result and commissioned a watercolor-copy for his personal use. In 1715 this painting was moved to Amsterdam Town Hall but at arrival they discovered that the painting was to big for his new location. To make it fit, they cut the painting and a part on the left, right and top was removed. The name 'the nightwatch' was  made up later when the dark varnish which gave the incorrect impression that it depicted a night scene. Painting from 1639-1642.

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