Answers for January 2006

Crikey, 12 questions is 12/5 times the usual work to assemble. But here we go. This painting by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is commonly called “The Night Watch” and is a major icon of Dutch culture and Dutch national pride.

I had a lot of entries, with some good ones from several lurkers and first-time triers – welcome all of you and a special commendation to Sharla Millett, and thank you to those who wrote witty answers. (I already know the real answers – c’mon, cheer me up). It can be done: another first-timer is our WINNER –

Carol Griffin

Way back, in September 2001, I promised to do a Hall of Fame for my favourite answers. (With a separate Hawl of Fame exclusively for answers from Dave Hawley). This has been such a gargantuan task that I have not quite found the courage to start it yet – and the job gets bigger all the time. So I’m sorry for the delay – I do have a life but I want to get this done – one day I really must get on to doing this.

Question 1

What should the painting properly be called?


Company of Capt Frans Cocq – or, in stead of “The Night Watch”, “The Day Watch” as it’s set in the daytime – the varnish made it look too dark.

Additional Answers

  • “Belligerent Dutchmen Argue Over Who Will Put Finger in Dyke”
  • “De jonge heer van Purmerland als Capitein geeft last aan zijnen Lietenant de heer van Vlaerdingen om sijn compaignie Burgers te doen marcheren”.
  • “did you hear something there?”
  • “Fancy Dress Party in Oxford St” by M. FitzPatrick Circa 2005
  • “Hold them off boys, the sale doesn’t start until Boxing Day.”
  • “The Official Opening of Amsterdams’s first Major Public Sewer Tunnel.”
  • “Why are we not allowed pointy sticks?”
  • “De jonge heer van Purmerland als Capitein geeft last aan zijnen Lietenant de heer van Vlaerdingen om sijn compaignie Burgers te doen marcheren” [the original caption next to a drawing of the painting in the Banning Cocq family album ­ I’m sure Dr Bob can read old Dutch]
  • A fake
  • A selection of men holding shafts near a large erection.
  • An old mess
  • At first it was called “Sketch of the painting from the Great Hall of Cleveniers Doelen, in which the young Heer van Purmerlandt [Banning Cocq], as captain, orders his lieutenant, the Heer van Vlaerderdingen [Willem van Ruytenburch], to march the company out.” As this was a little long it was instead called “Captain Frans Banning Cocq Mustering His Company” As this still was a little long it was shortened to “The Company of Captain Frans Cocq”
  • Before the War
  • ‘Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch’, according to Wikipedia, however my opinion is it should not be titled, as it wasn’t the practise to title paintings at the time it was painted – also from Wikipedia.
  • ‘De compagnie van kapitein Frans Banning Cocq en luitenant Willem van Ruytenburgh maakt zich gereed om uit te marcheren.’, meaning Frankie, Billy and their mates are about to leave the pub.
  • Defenders of the Faith
  • Drat I’ve seen this recently with an explanation but I cant drag it up from the cess pit of my memory… oh sister wendy where are you when I need you? [That’s not correct, but it would be quite a good title]
  • Heard many different versions – “The Company of Captain Frans Cocq”, “The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and of Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh”, “The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq Preparing to March”, and “The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch” but the most agreed on appears to be “The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch”.
  • His company plan mutiny upon hearing Banning Cocq’s plans to renovate their digs along the sensuous lines of a Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen boudoir.
  • Just good friends
  • old people doing stuff
  • Sir
  • Spring Street, Melbourne: Union Protest #487, Day Three. A 1990’s Retrospective.
  • The man in the black suit with people behind him
  • The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and of Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh
  • The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq. Or something like that.
  • The Night Watch title was given in the 18th century It was actually the ‘Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch’ by Rembrandt 1642
  • This is obviously ‘The Realtor’s Dream’ painted recently by that wonderful Australian painter Laurence James Hooker. The use of light and dark is consistent with a Real Estate agent’s sharing of truth and not quite truth.
  • Two guys, a girl, a chicken and a dorky guy in a tall hat.
  • Two rich pricks doing fcuk all while the ordinary guys do some work
  • Victory by Forfeit
  • Watch out for that apple – musket cleaning guy!
  • ‘Well If I’d Have Listened to you None of Them Would Be Fighting But That Is Not the Point’
  • ‘I told you so’

Question 2

Why is the leader’s hand stretched out like that?

Answer, Which Nobody Got

So that its shadow that falls on the tunic appears to support the embroidered figure of a lion, symbol of Amsterdam

Additional Answers

  • “And just imagine a pink and brown velvet and silk pulsating light-sculpture just here…”
  • “And over here, we have the Floral Clock…”
  • “I had the DVD player in my hand, and some little kid flew past on a skate board pinched it.”
  • As you can see, he is scraping his left foot on the floor to remove some dog poo. He is stretching his hand to emphasise his disgust. “Augh, I’ve just stood in some dog poo” he says, “oh, yes, I just did that” agrees the man in white. “You dirty bugger” the leader replies.
  • Banning Cocq: When’s this bloody artist going to finish his frigging sketch.?
  • Drummer: We’re missing happy hour! Bugger it — let’s march!
  • Willem van Ruytenburch: Yeah, it’s your shout too.
  • Rembrandt: Stand still ya bastards! Now look what you’ve made me do!
  • The dog: Woof, woof
  • Because he is gesturing to his companion
  • Because he is showing his fellow fighter that the other side has run away, he is pointing out that they are cowards, which he always said.
  • Because the leader, lord Van Purmerland, is giving lord Van Vlaerdingen, his Lieutenant, an order.
  • Captain Banning Cocq is issuing orders to his lieutenant, Van Ruytenburch, for the company to march.
  • Cue cards… the secret of all great orators.
  • Dramatic Effect!
  • Gives the order to start marching. This also, not that it’s really required with the other indicators, identifies him as the captain.
  • Hand out, palm upwards: some would suggest that this is a gesture indicating peace. Also, according to my impeccable google sources, it seems to be reaching out of the painting. Very spooky. Or could it be that he’s telling his men to get a move on?
  • He believes the rain might be starting to fall and wants to rush indoors to avoid it
  • He is a politician and is asking, “Where are the people of Amsterdam? Why are they not here to hear my speech?”
  • He is actually a ventrioquists dummy and the chap in yellow has his right arm in his body cavity operating the little strings that make the arms move
  • He is enquiring, “Where the hell is the blasted night watchman?”
  • He is explaining something to the other man
  • He is giving the order to start marching
  • He is saying how easy it was to beat the infidels and if the student wants to rule he must adopt his ideals and practices
  • He wants to eat a french stick – who has the french stick he says!!!
  • He wants to tell them all where the painter stands.
  • heez showing the way to amarillo
  • He’s checking for spots of rain
  • He’s explaining the fingerring for Whole Lotta Rosie
  • He’s inspiring his lieutenant to go forward with courage (‘moedig voorwaarts’)
  • He’s issuing an instruction. Many things come to mind
  • He’s ordering the company to march
  • He’s pointing out that he’s a pompous prick
  • He’s pointing to the heathen, athiestic rationalists that should be attacked
  • He’s reading from cue cards while trying to impress the shortarse bloke on his left.
  • Hes seeing if its raining after all he wouldnt want his darling angels clothes to get wet
  • It is the stylized portrait gesture of a captain
  • It’s Newton waiting for his apple to drop
  • Man, that galaxia was thiis big.
  • Shoq me the money
  • The leader with the red sash symbolises the agent. His hand is outstretched so that he is able to read from a palm card, since this agent is quite new to the industry and doesn’t have his patter down quite right yet.
  • The picture is of an old time karaoke bar, and the words to the song have been scrawled on the palm of his hand
  • To cast a shadow on the Leiwutenant’s lovely yellow coat, but maybe he is giving the order to start marching.
  • To draw attention to the fact that he’s speaking: telling the company to move out.
  • To give the order to start marching
  • To look impressive
  • To reflect light onto his face
  • To show he is the leader
  • Well,in fact Captain Banning Cocq is singing the debut presentation of the title track from Danny Kaye’s movie “The Five Pennies” , some may say that this is the order to start marching, but the vocal exposition is far more credible. It is a little known fact that Danny Kaye is a descendant of the Captain, and inherited his secret manuscripts.

Question 3

Why did Rembrandt add a dog (on the right, near the drummer?)


To convey noise, action and excitement

Additional Answers

  • To add liveliness
  • Artistic licence
  • because he had nothing else better to paint
  • Because Rembrandt liked dogs (‘honden’)
  • Because the only pussy is on the left (behind the bloke loading his musket).
  • Because there are always dogs in the sewer, albeit usually dead. What I want to know is where is the token cat?
  • Because there is ALWAYS a bloody dog getting in the way in a large crowd. So it was added for authenticity.
  • Early 3D attempt by psychological method. The effect on the viewer with all the disorder is that you feel that the dog had better get out of the way. This in turn draws you into the painting and that you too had better get out of the way of the approaching men.
  • fill black space
  • He had recently been criticised for his use of a defecating dog in a sketch of ‘The Good Samaritan’ parable. Plus the drummer was a freeloader [see #5 below].
  • He hated cats
  • His pet dog, had died that week
  • I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess the dog was just there to add some noise to the scene (woof, woof).
  • It was his own
  • its fits into the picture very well
  • It’s to offset the chicken tied to the girl’s waist.
  • Obviously, his crocodile was at the vet’s.
  • Originally the dog and one other creature were to be the only living objects in the painting. The people were added for dramatic effect.
  • Paintings of this period always had dogs
  • Probably to give the impression that the drummer and the boy firing the musket are making a hell of a noise (the dog seems to be cowering). Either that, or it’s a boring old symbol of fidelity, or guardianship or something like that.
  • Rembrandt often used dogs in his art, in many cases seemingly in an attempt to indicate a natural state of things. In many of his works the dog is licking its genitals, in another it’s defecating. In the case of this work, Rembrandt may have intended its depiction to symbolize fellowship of a sort, togetherness.
  • So you could hear it bark (Symbolises noise)
  • The artist liked dogs
  • The artist realised that a dog was necessary to make it obvious that the leader had stood in some poo.
  • The captain’s wife insisted.
  • The dog (showing fear) is there to remind us that agents have great power and any person who challenges them should be fearful of enormous losses, indeed any person who does not immediately sign a contract with them immediately should be fearful of great loss.
  • The dog belongs to the woman near the middle who is the fiancee of the leader. She wanted to fight in the war, though being a woman, she could not, so instead she offered a dog. The leader was not impressed, but as to not hurt her feelings, he accepted the offering and allowed the dog to accompany them.
  • The dog is a symbol of the theme of the piece, that being one of superiority of the two figures leading away from the fighting, troubled masses.
  • The dog is an obvious reference to the Shakespearian quote “Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war” Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I, ca 1608. It is a metaphorical representation of man’s predisposition to love of combat, however, parodoxically also personifies mans fear of war, as suggested by the dog’s posture. But maybe its just a scared little dog thinking, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Captain”
  • The dog is growling at the statue of a drummer
  • The dog took the french stick!
  • There was a man missing in the company so he painted dog instead. He thought no one should notice.
  • There was one left over from his last painting
  • This implicates the people who were conquered, cowering dogs.
  • To eat after the chicken
  • To explain the duality of man and dog
  • To fill in a gap
  • To frighten off Linda Lovelace’s pussy, should it be come near
  • To honour the Chinese calendar. It just happened to have been painted in the year of the dog.
  • To indicate noise as well as movement, as in the beating of the drum and the barking of the dog.
  • To make it more realistic. He only had soldiers (and the drummer) in front of him when painting, so he added the dog, and some ordinary civilians to make it appear more “real”.
  • To reflect life
  • Why not? He’s got everything else in there.

Question 4

What is the significance of the chicken, tied to the girl’s waist?


Defeat of enemies

Additional Answers

  • A chicken’s claw was the symbolic emblem of the compagnie.
  • A dead chicken symbolising the defeated enemy
  • Again, it reinforces her inferiority
  • Contains spare drumsticks for the aforementioned drummer.
  • Evidence that this is not the first time civilisation has tried to do away with plastic shopping bags.
  • Have you not heard of chicken rolls? thats what the french stick is for!
  • It helps attract the flies away from the feast laid out on tables just out of picture
  • It is a safety measure, like the canary in a mine. If it died there was too much gas. Of course if it died there was not much hope for the people with it in the tunnel either.
  • It is very significant (to the girl) She’s called Victoria by the way.
  • It shows that girls are dumb
  • It was a traditional thing in parades – those zany dutch -something about their defeated enemies
  • It’s dinner.
  • It’s like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied a chicken to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you’d say. Now where were we? Oh yeah – the important thing was I had a chicken on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white chickens because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…
  • Lunch
  • Maybe it’s the Cocq
  • Obviously symbolism. Lunch is on the way, or perhaps the enemy is defeated.
  • Okay, I could find this one on Google. “The chicken is hanging from her girdle by its claws and the claw was the emblem of the Kloveniers, whose name derives from the Dutch word klauw.” There is also a school of thought that a dead chicken equals vanquished foe. And lunch.
  • Perhaps an early case of bird flu? No, in fact my research into Renaissance symbology leads me to loosely translate ‘Yellow-attired bearer of the inverted deceased fowl’ as ‘victory over the defeated enemy’ (certainly defeated that chook anyway).
  • She had to bring something to the sitting, and as her dog had been eaten by a crocodile owned by the painter and was at the vet’s, she brought a chicken.
  • She is waiting for it to lay golden eggs
  • She’s a poultry farmer
  • She’s fat and they get hungry
  • She’s in disgrace
  • Symbolic function. Yellow means victory. The victory girl bears on her girdle something that, more than anything else, shows how sure these men are that their war is won. It is a dead chicken, the defeated enemy.
  • Symbolizes the dead enemy, indicating their certainty of triumph. The claws also represent the ‘Clauweniers’- Arquebusiers.
  • That’s a chook???
  • The artist did not like chickens
  • The artist realised that she was the only character without a cape-on. [Groannnn]
  • The chicken (dead) is just part of the patter, along the lines of “do you want fries with this?
  • The chicken’s claw is the important bit: the claw was the insignia of the company. Though when you think about it, the guy’s name was Cocq, so there may be something in that too.
  • The chickens giving the girl a coal carry
  • The claws (‘klauwen’) of the chicken refer to the riflemen (‘klauweniers’, or ‘kloveniers’, pronunciation depending on how much beer you’ve been drinking).
  • The claws of a dead chicken on her belt represent the ‘Clauweniers’- Arquebusiers. Or a pun on Cocq’s manhood?
  • The claws refer to the name of the company (kloveniers)
  • The dead chook symbolises the enemy. “They’re all chicken and we’re going to kill them”.
  • The Girl would have the odd chicken about her waist from time to time. The claws of the chicken on her belt represent the ‘Clauweniers’- Arquebusiers The militiamen in the Night Watch are called Arquebusiers after the arquebus, a sixteenth-century long-barreled gun which could be taken as a phallic symbol.
  • The girl’s name is Harlanda van Sandersij, and always carried around a dead chicken in case she got hungry. She hid a pressure cooker in her bustle and so always had food on hand when fighting with the militia. She has a famous descendant, (Col) Harland Sanders, who inherited her secret recipe with eleven herbs and spices. Or maybe she is an angel and the chicken represents the defeated enemy. Nah!
  • The leader was so convinced that the enemy were cowards, that he had everyone tie a chicken to their waist, representing the fact that they would soon capture “those chickens”. However, while running to face the enemy, the chickens fell off everyone, but the girl.
  • The orientation of the chicken with the head down and feet pointing to the sky is an approving nod to the position of women within Dutch Renaissance society.
  • The soldiers dont want the chicken. they will ravish her instead, despite their hunger.
  • what chicken?

Question 5

Actual living men are depicted. In what way did the drummer differ from the other men in the painting?


He was hired and so is not named on the shield listing the names of the other men, who paid to be in the picture

Additional Answers

  • Errr, I think you mean “actual dead men are depicted”
  • Anyone can see that. He’s the drummer in the Band, and all of the others are holding pointy-type sharp weapons. Except the girl, who is holding a pointy-type sharp chicken.
  • As a muso, he’s probably stoned
  • Each of the men in the painting paid 100 guilders to Rembrandt. The drummer was hired, and so didn’t have to pay. (Wikipedia)
  • Either a) although real, he wasn’t actually a member of the militia, or b) he wasn’t one of those who had a share in the work–that is, he didn’t have to pay, as the others did.
  • Facing the other way
  • Father time? drumming the beats of life?
  • He had a drum tied to his waist. The others did not.
  • He has a drum.
  • He is holding a drum
  • He is holding a drum (I’m so, so sorry…)
  • He is not an actual living man. He is a life size drummer doll.
  • He is the only one with a sensible instrument
  • He made too much noise
  • He was a freeloader, i.e. he didn’t pay to be in the painting. Neither, I’d wager, did the dog or the little girls.
  • He was based on Robert Doyle, who is not alive because he has no personality. Or opinions. Bring back Jeff!
  • He was hired, and didn’t pay commission.
  • He was not actually a member of the compaignie.
  • He was shy, you can see that he is trying to get out of the picture. Also he could play a drum.
  • He was the only one who didnt pay to be in it
  • He was tone deaf
  • He was, in fact, a dead transvestite. He had been abducted by gypsies at the tender age of 3 months and brought up as a girl to avoid the authorities. At the age of 7 the gypsy caravan tumbled off a cliff, killing his/her “parents” and leaving him/her alone in the world. Wandering around, he found a toy drum and beat it incessantly until a roving pack of rabid wolves could take no more and killed him. The local people labelled it as a mercy killing and he was commemorated in this painting, complete with false beard and plasticene nose.
  • He wasn’t a fighter, he played the drums as the troops marched onward towards the battle destination.
  • He wasn’t able to pay for the painting – or rather he didn’t need to pay. Everybody know that it’s the musicians that get paid – or do they?
  • He wasn’t actually part of the company and he secretly played the piano on weekends.
  • He wasn’t real? He wasn’t living? He’s a supernatural being or a figment of Rembrandt’s imagination? Or perhaps he wasn’t a member of the brigade; he was a model, a stand in and, as such, didn’t have to pay Rembrandt for the honour of being painted.
  • He’s actually gay
  • He’s got a drum and drumsticks, but no chicken.
  • His hands are full, so he cannot eat the chicken roll
  • It is said to be commissioned by the Captain and 17 members of his civic militia guards Kloveniers, and although 18 names appear on a shield in the centre right background, the drummer was hired, and so was allowed in the painting for free.
  • It’s a statue – the lack of drool alerts us that this is not a real drummer.
  • Must be bloody old if living…drummers are just ‘different’ always have been always will be
  • None of the other men are beating a drum. And they have much nicer hats. And poofier collars.
  • Not famous
  • The drummer, Berniij Wilkstrom, is actually dead. He is the real inspiration for the film “Weekend at Bernie’s”. Rembrandt had already paid him to be in the painting, and refused to pay another actor. Ted Kotcheff, the film director found inspiration after a study of the painting when he saw it on a souvenir tea towel his Great Aunt brought back from holidays. But then…. maybe he’s a paid actor, but not dead.
  • The names of the eighteen militiamen portrayed in the painting are on a shield above the gate The men who paid were included in the group portrait. The drummer was hired and was therefore allowed to be in the painting for free.
  • The other members apparently paid to be in the artwork, whereas the drummer was hired and thus allowed to be included for free.
  • The picture is an ego piece. The volunteer militia company was made up of local businessmen who paid to appear the painting and those who didn’t pay got left out. The drummer wasn’t a member of the company, he was paid for his work and didn’t have to pay to be in the picture.
  • What appears to be a drummer is really a person with a ladle in a large bowl of soup. This is a handout for those people who have suffered losses by not buying from LJ and is a sign of his generosity.

Question 6

What happened when it was first hung at the Amsterdam Town Hall?


Sawed bits off to make it fit

Additional Answers

  • Everybody was shocked – weird picture – until they turned the picture upside down.
  • And well hung it was too! Several other paintings that weren’t as well hung as this one objected to the Lord Mayor, resulting in several adjustments of a personal nature being made to the painting.
  • Cut down for reasons of space
  • Everyone said, “Oooh, that’s noice, that’s different, that’s unusuwel”, then went to look at the next exhibition.
  • For reasons of space, the painting was cut down on all four sides. The greatest loss was on the left, where a strip about two feet wide, containing three figures, was removed.
  • Hang Drawn and Quartered – not a good idea. Parts of the canvas were cut off to make the painting fit on the designated wall when it was moved to Amsterdam town hall in 1715.
  • I’m afraid it was too big to fit on the wall. What to do? Find a bigger venue or extend the Town Hall? No ­ get out the saw and scissors. Problem solved ­ brilliant! And all those paying subjects that were snipped off the painting were no longer around to complain.
  • it fell aff the nail
  • It precipitated the very first Dutch auction.
  • It sat suspended on 2 hooks for some months without moving.
  • It was cut down around all four sides with 3 figures cut odd the left hand side. (Maybe they didn’t make their payments, but more likely it was just too big to fit.)
  • It was cut down on all four sides to ‘fit’
  • It was well hung
  • It wasn’t was it?
  • Not much
  • Outrage, scandal, knickers in a twist
  • People came to see it? It was too big and they had to cut it down quite a bit. This really must have peeved those guys who’d paid to be painted and who ended up on the cutting room floor.
  • People clamoured for the “after” picture.
  • People cried. Some screamed. One fainted, but more pretended to be impressed, because they could not remember what the painting was meant to depict.
  • People had a huge orgy
  • People in Amsterdam viewed it
  • People looked at it
  • People who had been smoking the reefer were getting the munchies, thinking about the chicken rolls!
  • Public didn’t like it
  • Same as happens in every town hall. A bunch of council-workers sat around shuffling paper and played solitaire on their PC.
  • Scorned
  • The painting wastrimmed, cut to size, including a loss of about 2 feet on the left-hand-side, including about 3 people.
  • The people of Amsterdam were not impressed, politicians advertising indeed! In fact this is when that famous riddle started – ‘How do you know when a politician is lying?’
  • The roof fell in
  • The town council had to pay people to come and see it.
  • The Town Hall’s previous tenants were Santa’s elves who modified the building to more comfortably accommodate their short stature. Too bad they had to cut down the painting to fit it in!!!!!
  • The widow wept.
  • They cut off a bit to make it fit.
  • They had to cut bits off to fit it on the wall. Oh, and some of the paying militia men were a bit cheesed about being stuck right up the back.
  • Three people were cut off [as happened a lot in polite Dutch society at the time].

Question 7

What did the artist have in common with about 4 percent of humanity?


Stereo blind – quite handy for an artist

Additional Answers

  • A sense of humor.
  • Allegedly he had strabismus
  • Another left-handed nose flute player of Icelandic descent.
  • deaf, no wait, blind.
  • Diabetes
  • Extropia of his left eye [lazy eye]
  • He could paint? He could drive a car and talk at the same time? He could paint with both hands?
  • He didn’t know anything about Iceland, and didn’t like Phillip Glass.
  • He had 11 toes
  • He had a painting hung at the Amsterdam town hall
  • He liked the painting
  • He may have suffered from stereo blindness, however this is based on a medical analysis of his paintings by someone keen to publish. Since there is no way of testing the hypothesis, he may also have been farming all his work out to elves. (That’s a polite way of saying it may be all cobblers)
  • He owned the entire collection of Daryl Somers’s albums – sorry I thought it said .000000000000000004%. I guess it cost him a lot those days to buy a CD player and so he went bankrupt.
  • He put the milk in his tea first.
  • He suffered from amblyopia, or lazy eye.
  • He suffered from ‘stereo blindness’. That is, he had lousy binocular vision.
  • He used his left hand to wipe his bottom.
  • He used Linux.
  • he was a faggot
  • he was a painter
  • He was a sociopath (actually used Google here, so may be wrong). Or an American.
  • He was afraid of leaves that had a striking resemblance to people he knew – known as leafophobia.
  • He was dyslexic
  • He was Dutch? He was an artist? His eyes were different colours, like David Bowie?
  • He was wearing the other genders’ underwear.
  • He went bankrupt.
  • His brain could not form normal binocular vision. This disability could have helped him to flatten images as he saw, and then put it onto the two-dimensional canvas
  • His eyes failed to align properly, possibly a case of stereo blindness.
  • I was going to say that he didn’t wash his hands after going, but then I bet it’s a lot more than 4 percent. (Ugh. Think about that next time you shake hands. Or maybe it’s better not to.)
  • Left handed and / or homosexual
  • Left-handed?
  • Not an idiot?
  • Outlived his son? (no that can’t be it as so many children died as babies back then). Had an affair with a nurse? Went bankrupt?
  • Sheer audacity. Only a person with such a mindset would use his own visage in such a painting, and then be hung in Amsterdam.
  • Strabismus (not politically correct to make a joke of this)
  • The luxury and talent to paint
  • They say having a lazy eye, also known as extropia, can be a benefit to an artist. (His left eye)
  • Those who have spent far too much time staring at Renaissance self portraits (it’d send me cross-eyed) have noticed a consistent misalignment of Rembrandt’s pupils, i.e. strabismus, and the likelihood that he was stereoblind (allegedly an advantage to painting with 3-D perspective). Oh, and Salvador Dali thought Rembrandt was colour-blind because he never used blue (colour-blind = 8% of male population and hence also ~4% total because it’s rare in women), but who else is going to listen to a man who thought that painting burning giraffes and melting clocks was a good idea?

Question 8

After this painting but also generally, why did the artist’s commissioned work start to decline in comparison to van Dyck and other painters?


Other painters gave more emphasis to properly and clearly depicting their paying customers

Additional Answers

  • A change in Dutch tastes in art. Rembrandt painted in a way that demanded that his audience devote some thought into the complexity that they were looking at. Most people just wanted bright colours and graceful manner ­ the Philistines!
  • A change in fashion and fortune: the Dutch upper and middle classes wore expensive dyed clothes, and preferred the brighter detail of van Dyck to Rembrandt’s chiarascuro scumbling.
  • An art chain store of Scottish origin opened up just up the street. How could he compete with with Ronauld McDoniijkld and a free pickled herring with every picture. Guess Dutch tastes changed.
  • Because he refused to compromise to suit his benefactors and painted unflattering portraits. He died in poverty, but his artistic integrity was intact. AAh art!
  • Because he was paid by the hour and took forever to finish a painting.
  • Because his clients were unhappy with how Rembrandt painted them (‘betaal ik 100 florijnen en sta ik nog in de &*^$#%&% schaduw’)
  • Because this style, it was just SOOO last century…
  • Financial woes, although it’s debateable which came first.
  • He became a thorn in the side of aristocracy, humiliating those in power
  • He died
  • He followed Julian McGauran into the Liberal Party and, like his senatorial mentor, became an unloved National disgrace.
  • He just wasn’t flavour of the month any more. Basically he started to go out of style, although he was still getting good money for years later.
  • he lost all became a bit of a this quiz
  • He started wearing vingboons and hats which were distinctly campon, chasing skirt and generally being pathetic.
  • He was only interested in the cash and started to delegate work to his pupils.
  • He was too complicated – he actually forced them to devote some thought to what they were looking at.
  • He went into pot-boilers in a big way. His workshop produced heaps of ‘Rembrandts’ which Rembrant hadn’t put a brush to. (Not that this was especially unusual)
  • His musical career took over.
  • I don’t think the other painters or contemporary art critics liked him or his work. Which goes to show that critics don’t know anything.
  • If I were you I would not let Rembrandt know that’s what you think.
  • In specific comparison to van Dyck, Rembrandt was too dark, and van Dyck used much brighter colours and a more elegant or refined manner, but without the profundity of Rembrandt’s work. Overall, tastes were just changing too, away from darker styles like Rembrandt’s.
  • It could have been the various scandals such as bedding his son’s nursemaid etc. But the Dutch, sick of dark old paintings, started to go for brighter things [such as bedding their sons’ nursemaids?]
  • Painted in 1642, Rembrandt’s theme were mainly biblical, mythological and historical scenes. He lost out to the 17th C. version of Hello Magazine with their bright colors. So fickle this new money. No Intelligence required to view paintings there.
  • Size.
  • Somebody paid for this?
  • Some people had no taste
  • Soon after this, unconvincing cockney accents came into fashion. The artist could never compete with Dick van Dyke.
  • The artist refused to bow to the pressure to conform generated by fellow artists. Also, a predilection to paint speech bubbles containing pithy epithets and strange duck-like growths on the subject’s head also contributed to the decline.
  • The Painters and Dockers Union kicked him out for turning States Evidence.
  • The public preferred more brightly coloured and “happier” paintings
  • Turps
  • Unfortunately, his supply of ochres dwindled, and he was unable to reproduce anything resembling this quality.
  • He had very unusual terms and conditions.

Question 9

Q9 The painting was once heavily varnished. Was there any advantage in this?


Yes, it happened to confer resistance to knife and acid attacks

Additional Answers

  • “The Scream” vanished also, Dr Bob, to no advantage – so why should this daub’s disappearance lead to one? (BTW, I do wish you would in future avoid spelling “vanished” in the same way that a toffee-nosed arty wanker luvvie would pronounce the word. I mean, really, “varnished” for “vanished” is so – what’s the word? – so MELBOURNE. Ugh.)
  • Around the time of this work, Rembrandt’s technique became much more ‘free’, in terms of use of impasto, scumbling, heavy strokes, requiring viewers to view the works from a distance, but it was found that the clarity, for lack of a better word, that this gave could also be achieved by the use of varnish. Its application though is what led to the belief that it was a night scene, hence the incorrect name ‘Night Watch’ (incorrect on both counts). It’s also quite possible that it was simply used for protection.
  • Absolutely and unequivocally yes. Without a dulling varnish, the brilliance of the colours would have made simply looking at the dream difficult for those over 40 who need glasses. It also serves as a graffiti repellent.
  • Allows dislocation of lunatics arms
  • In low light you could brush your teeth in front of it
  • Inadvertently, the varnishers rendered a great service to the world of art. In 1911, when the Night Watch was still covered with a thick layer of hardened varnish, an unemployed ship’s cook went at it with a knife. He seems to have had no reason for this act of apparent madness beyond the fact that the painting was famous and he was not. But its surface coating proved as resistant as glass, and the attacker was unable to cut through it.
  • It could survive bats shitting on it.
  • It fell off the wall so no-one would have to see it
  • It gave it the opportunity to be given a much nicer name (The Night Watch)
  • It kept rats from chewing holes through the canvas.
  • It made it look nice and shiny, like the cork tiles on my floor. [just you wait and eventually your floor will look like Picasso’s Weeping Woman]
  • It makes it easier to remove further “Devil horns and goatee” graffiti.
  • It protected it from a knife wielding art critic
  • It protected it slightly from a recent acid attack by a loony.
  • It provided the painting with a rather more manageable nickname (‘bijnaam’).
  • It saved it from an vandal attack of acid. It also made it seem really really really dark, so everyone thought all this was going on at night when really it was the middle of the day–or at least during daylight hours. So there was one advantage in that it saved it from a nutter, but in other ways there was no advantage.
  • It was easy to get the kids’ graffiti off it.
  • It wasn’t varnished enough, you can still see the crap
  • It would have preserved the paint surface from the damp quite nicely, I expect.
  • Just like a used car sales man. It protected the flacky paint work and he could make his paintings more coherent. His technique, using bold strokes, passages of broken colour, heavy impasto applied with the palette knife, and areas scumbled with his fingers … greasy mechanic or what.
  • It kept the restorers fully employed
  • No
  • Once there was a cook that tried to eat it but it was too hard for him.
  • One of the reasons that the sewer tunnel was built was that the gases and vapours, which emanated from the open drains, contained little gremlin things that attacked the paint pigments used at that time. Varnishing stopped the deterioration of the colours etc.
  • Perhaps, so that people would stop licking it.
  • Presumably to help the strokes and colours fuse in a kind of “soft focus”.
  • Prevent mildew
  • Protection from weathering
  • Smoke damage could be undone by removing the varnish
  • The coating of varnish was the result of a conspiracy which Mulder and Scully unravelled in episode 4 season 2. The varnish was supposed to block X rays from revealing the secret code to the location of the Holy Grail. Fortunate that it also thwarted attempts at vandalism wasn’t it?
  • The varnish seller was happy
  • The varnish was to seal and protect the paint work from dirt. Unfortunately the varnish darkened over time. It was also intended to blur the detail of the brush strokes which were considered too heavy (Rembrandt apparently intended it to be looked at from a distance – not surprising, because it is a bloody big painting.)
  • To stop additions or changes
  • Twofold advantages: 1. It tended to blend the colours and strokes. Rembrandt always said his paintings were best viewed from a distance; this had the same effect without the need for distance. 2. Inadvertent partial protection against knife-wielding cooks and other loonies.
  • Varnishing blurred the scumbling marks, and helped protect it; perhaps the varnishers foresaw a loony throwing acid on it in 1990. Good thing there are museum guards with buckets. Or, perhaps they deliberately wanted the varnish to gradually darken over the centuries, and thereby mess with generations of art students who wrote their theses on the ‘Night Watch’ in misguided attempts to deconstruct a portrait in daylight. A joke like this in art preservation circles is considered sidesplitting.
  • Yes – it made the painting impervious to moisture.
  • Yes protected it from the knife attack by a ship’s cook in 1911
  • Yes, because cockroaches will not attack their own.
  • Yes, it made it harder to see the painting
  • Yes, there was a very very small growth in the Dutch varnishing industry.
  • Yes.
  • Yes. But I’ll be buggered if I can think what it was.
  • You could hang it outside when it was raining

Question 10

The painting was hidden in a cave near Maastricht during the Nazi occupation of Holland. This was basically a good idea, but what did go wrong with it?


They forgot which cave and quite a search had to be mounted

Additional Answers

  • I agree, occupying Holland IS a good idea. However, the Nazi ideology rubbed the rest of the world up the wrong way, Hitler tried to fight a war on two fronts, and once the Yanks got involved, there was only one winner.
  • A bear used it as a bed
  • Bats shat on it but because of the varnish it survived
  • Damp and mould
  • Didn’t they cut it out of its frame and roll it up? So while the cave was probably damp proof, the painting may have got a bit tatty as a result of not being in its frame. I’m sure it didn’t do the varnish any good, and the paint probably cracked a bit too.
  • Got flooded
  • Hidden in St. Pietersberg, on Maastricht’s outskirts which are also used for growing mushrooms to supply the local restaurants because of its dark and damp conditions while a painting requires dry conditions, But Dark is good, so 50% for trying lads.
  • it cracked
  • It got coevered in bat guano
  • it made it wrinkle
  • It was a German cave
  • it was found again
  • It was lost
  • It was removed from its frame, rolled up, and stored in a bunker.
  • it wasnt actually a cave it was a secret Nazi base and they used it for bog rolls
  • Its was a great idea actually, why not combine the fine arts of art and cuisine? Nothing wrong with “Cocq and Ruytenburch with Fungi Sauce” served with a fine Dutch wine of course.
  • Legend has it on its return by boat, it was delivered to the wrong address
  • Maastricht was heavily bombed by the Nazis on their way in, and again by the British on the Nazis’ way out. It was rescued from destruction by the famed “Maastricht Man”, a hobbit-type creature once reputed to inhabit those caves.
  • Mould
  • never found again
  • probably got a bit damp in the quarry
  • Sadly, the cave chosen was quite small, and in a heavily used area of the woods. During rainy weather, Servicemen would use it as a toilet and with the absence of good quality (in fact any) toilet tissues, tended to tear pieces from it for use in this manner. This is why only a small portion of the painting has survived. It originally showed the rest of the marching band, including three sousaphones.
  • Some of the other paintings ‘disappeared’, I don’t see what that has to do with this painting, though.
  • Somebody forgot which cave?
  • Someone took their finger out of the van Dyck
  • The bats shat on it, hence, the white nose on the guy with the dodgy sash.
  • The cave entrance clogged up, as Dutch cave entrances are wont to do, thus creating a hamster dam through which the cave’s resident rodents could not pass. The mix of cave moisture and hungry hamsters was enough to make the hidden painting just polder away.
  • The Nazis found it.
  • The painting was hung in a poorly lit side tunnel and people kept trying to walk through it.
  • The painting was taken out of it’s frame and rolled up. It is a big painting and being lugged around the country like a carpet isn’t the best way to preserve an old painting. It weighs 170 kg
  • The people who had hidden the painting forgot about it after the war ended – whether this was intentional is uncertain. In 1946, a Dutch farmer discovered it and took it to his house, where it stayed until his great niece’s partner recognised it from his art studies and informed the rightful owners, who reluctantly retrieved it.
  • The site was likely to have been near a good pub, and the cave’s guards were fond of drink, therefore leaving the painting unguarded.
  • The varnish was only on one side.
  • There were rats.
  • They did never find it again – what we are looking at is a well done reproduction.
  • They lost it in the catacombs, as the bishop said to the actress.
  • They picked an abandoned coal mine so it got slightly dirty.
  • Those brown stains on the painting – I’m afraid that’s bat shit!
  • When the bears hibernating there woke up and moved on, they took the painting with them. Of course they forfeited their bond, but it didn’t recoup the cost of the painting.
  • When they moved it back to Amsterdam on 25th june 1945, the director of the museum fell on the painting (‘sukkel’). See Wikipedia site (the dutch version): I haven’t checked this, but do we dare to doubt Wikipedia?

Question 11

Give two reasons why the painting is not insured against theft.

The Answers Included:

  • It’s worth too much
  • No one will insure it
  • Impossible to dispose of if stolen, so why steal
  • If, as I suggest in Q10, it can’t be found. it may be difficult to insure, but I am sure certain Australian insurance companies will accept the risk just before they go broke and ruin the lives of countless mum and dad investors.
  • It’s not really removeable from the wall
  • It’s not worth anything
  • It’s too big
  • It has already been stolen
  • Dr Bob has already stolen the painting to use in his quizzes.
  • GIO won’t cover it as part of “House and Contents” package.
  • It’s crap.
  • It’s way too big to steal
  • Insurance costs too much, and they have many paintings, so it should be more economical to bear the loss of theft, rather than to pay insurance.
  • No one in their right mind would want to steal it.
  • No-one has tried to steal it yet – so why insure it for something never happens?
  • If someone tried to steal it they would need to demolish the museum to get it out – and the building is insured.
  • Who in their right mind would insure it?
  • It’s already been stolen.
  • It’s too big to get out the door.
  • There’s no such thing as theft
  • It turned out to be a fake anyway when I tried to sell it. All I could get for it was two doubloons and a bodkin.
  • No, really, it’s so bloody big that it’s unstealable, so why bother with theft insurance?
  • So the insurance companies can’t be held for ransom
  • Who in their right mind would pinch it?
  • The Night Watch is colossal. In its original dimensions it measured approximately 13 by 16 feet which makes it a bit hard to nick. Although in the world of dodgy car sales, a mate might have a white-coloured van.
  • There is no market for a painting like The Night Watch. It is too well known and you need a big wall to hang it on.
  • Because they are cheap arses
  • The painting is too big to extract through the doors of its gallery; you’d need to demolish a ceiling or wall, and use a crane or helicopter.
  • How would any thief manage to dispose of such a well known painting?
  • I doubt if anyone would insure it anyway, given its history of attracting knife-wielding loonies etc.
  • Because it costs less to place it under armed guard than it does to insure it, and secondly because it has been vandalised three times in it’s life, including being sliced to ribbons in 1975, and so it’s unlikely someone could do worse to it.
  • Impossible to place a monetary value
  • Irreplaceable
  • It is painted on a slab of concrete and it takes four strong people [notice my political correctness Dr Bob?] to carry it.
  • It is tech screwed to the wall
  • It stinks and it’s a reminder about the bird flu…
  • It’s priceless and the premiums don’t come with old age pensioner discount
  • There’s not enough money in the world to cover an insurance payout?
  • They keep forgetting to put the renewal forms in the post.
  • Priceless and too big to carry
  • Probably because NRMA won’t insure it because the art gallery doesn’t have deadlocks on all windows.
  • Seriously, would YOU steal it?
  • The Night Watch is colossal. In its original dimensions it measured approximately 13 by 16 feet. Even with the cropping it got before exhibition in the Town Hall, it’s a tad large to be carried out unnoticed.
  • The insurance premium is too high and it would be classic over capitalisation
  • The museum claims it cannot be insured in monetary terms, and the other reason I assume is due to its size – it’s huge (its original dimensions were 13 by 16 feet, but currently measures 11’3″ x 14’4″)
  • The museum holding this wonderful work of art has adequate security for both the people who came to see it last year, and the curator rolls it and takes it home in a cardboard tube every night.
  • The popularity of the “Nightwatch Tea Towel” available at Go Lo for $1.99. Why would anyone need to steal the original when you can have dual functionality at such an amazing price?
  • The Rijksmuseum says it is to important to place a value on it. They don’t say they are cheap bastards. Anyway what are you going to do with the insurance money, buy another copy ?
  • Too expensive and probably something technical.
  • Who wants a painting about a sewer?

Question 12

Has there been another “Night Watch” in Dr Bob’s quiz lately?


Yes, the film of the fox last month was called “Night Watch”

Additional Answers

  • Absolutely positively maybe.
  • Define “lately” please – it is just as precise (?) as “recently” Anyway I assume “yes” or you would not have asked the question
  • Does the fox hide in the gallery with bees?
  • Dunno. Don’t care. Had enough of this. It’s been fun though.
  • How would I know. I’ve never read Dr Bob’s quiz before.
  • I don’t know, I’m only up to February 2001 in the back-catalogue, and I keep getting told off for giggling at the answers.
  • I don’t know. I’ve spent too much time on this quiz already. But is was fun.
  • i dunno i only found this site coz some shit had the same name as me and won
  • I have no idea
  • I hope not, no two works of art should have the same name.
  • If there have been any, they would have been frauds since this was the only painting by this name ever done.
  • Is that what you call Barry Williams’ knee?
  • Is this a trick question?
  • I’ve got a 50-50 chance here: yes.
  • Maybe. Maybe not…
  • No
  • No idea
  • No, no work with the name “Sketch of the painting from the Great Hall of Cleveniers Doelen, in which the young Heer van Purmerlandt (Banning Cocq), as captain, orders his lieutenant, the Heer van Vlaerderdingen (Willem van Ruytenburch), to march the company out” has been in this quiz before. I’m pretty sure about that.
  • NO. “Your search for night watch did not return any matches (468 documents were searched)”
  • Not sure, but I’m hoping for a re-run of the naked girl playing chess.
  • Not that I know of, but then I’m a pretty new member. I COULD have done a page search on every one of the quizzes on the site, but I couldn’t really be bothered hah.
  • Probably but it’s getting late and I can’t be bothered.
  • probably, but I haven’t been answering lately so I don’t know for sure.
  • sure have, lots of stinky ones!
  • Umm, yes?
  • Well, none called The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and of Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh. It isn’t a name that leaps to mind when naming a new art work. What do you mean by “lately” ?
  • What is a “Night Watch” Dr. Bob? Is it a sundial that glows in the dark? [Great idea – you could tell the time at night]
  • who is Dr Bob?
  • why are you askin me bob?
  • Yes, in the January 2006 quiz. [ah! A correct answer].
  • Yes.
  • Yes. But I’ll be buggered if I can think what it was.
  • Yes. Twice.
  • Yes…”That painting in Dr Bob’s quiz” generic name


  • “Mum, didn’t you already do this quiz?” “No…” “Mum, you have done this quiz, I saw you do it before.” “Go away.”
  • A 12 question quiz to start the year, Dr Bob? Sadism knows no bounds…
  • A bit easy this month Dr Bob, it took no time at all
  • After a few months away from the quiz I am back, and not likely to get any questions correct again.
  • Any chance of your putting your sources next to the answers every month Dr Bob? Or are they merely ‘well placed sources’?
  • Are you really a Dr.? [Yes. Well, I have a basic medical knowledge]
  • As you may have guessed I know nothing about this painting, or who painted it, although I allow that I may well have heard of him (or her) whoever he or she may be.
  • Dearie me bobbie ole boy, by using the artist’s name, AND the “name” of the painting you gave away everything: [Woops, I fixed it on the 2nd of the month]
  • Do you have a life? [Yes, as soon as I have finished editing the answers]
  • Dr Bob, I am constantly amazed that you can keep coming up with such important and cultural information month after month. Both you and your readers must be especially proud of all the effort made to do this. [That should be: “you and both your readers”]
  • Easy one this month (‘een makkie’)
  • Esoteric Knowelege + Intelligence = smart??
  • How is the quest for the diviner going. [We have tried, using all sorts of forked sticks and bent wires, but we still cannot find him]
  • Fish are not the only haddocks, Only one Cheese can live under water, A knee is for life, But Why Doctor Bob, But Why.
  • Gee, you ask some pretty hard questions Dr Bob. Even though I became an instant expert on the Dutch Masters by going to the exhibition in Melbourne recently, I do not think I scored quite 100% in this test.
  • Great quiz this month. I’m sadly a day to late to send in the answer but I couldn’t stand NOT to send it in.
  • Happy new year – when does the real quiz begin?
  • hello dr bob
  • Hi
  • Holy cow, I knew nothing in this quiz.
  • howdy dude! so you’re australian, sounds fun. crikey mate that test was hard. if you’re nice i might do the test again one day. thats all bye
  • I have never seen this painting before in my life. [Then your life until now has been bereft of this particular experience, and I feel very glad to have been able to confer it upon you.]
  • I have this rash… [And I once had a rash … idea. To set a trivia quiz]
  • I went to look for Andrei Rublev at the National Gallery but they don’t stock it any more. On the other hand has it at £17 which is cheaper than any eBay price I could find. I think I’ll give it a go on your recommendation.
  • If I need a Doctors Certificate for work can I come and see you?
  • If thou art a demon I will destroy thee.
  • I’m exhausted. Too many questions. Time to open another bottle of wine!
  • I’m not that keen on the picture. I preferred the book.
  • I’m sorry Dr. Bob, but I have nothing to say to you at this point in time.
  • In the past you have promised a hall of fame, any chance of it happening? I love reading the old answers, but I’d like to know what your faves are. [see top of file]
  • It’s my first time, Dr Bob. I don’t think I did particularly well. Google let me down, I know it. I have, however, a greater knowledge of Rembrandt thanks to this quiz. Cheers!
  • lst quizz [Yes, I agree]
  • Phew – some serious answers, others very flippant as usual. Have not got water on the brain (yet) but there is water everywhere else in Broome
  • severe lack of enthuse this month.
  • thanks bob
  • Tough one Bob
  • Well this is a fine way to spend a Sunday morning. My first go at this, and I plan to be back next month.
  • Yea, it was fun but I must be crazy.
  • You don’t exist. [I’ve been wondering who it was]