Rijksmuseum reborn: Rembrandt's 'Night Watch' explained

Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum

Story highlights

  • Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum reopens after massive $489m, 10-year rebuilding program
  • The 'altarpiece' of the cathedral-like Gallery of Honor is Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'
  • Curator Pieter Roelofs says the painting is 'the Dutch national treasure'
Click on the picture above to reveal the artwork's secrets.

(CNN)Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, one of the world's best-known galleries, reopens April 13 after a massive 10-year rebuild.

At the heart of the "new" museum is its most treasured painting, "The Night Watch," a group portrait of one of Amsterdam's local militias, painted by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1642, at the height of the Dutch Golden Age.
    Architect Pierre Cuypers designed the building around the massive masterpiece -- it measures 11 feet by 14 feet -- in 1885, and it is the only work to be returned to its original location in the radically revamped gallery.
    "Everything has changed, the only thing that hasn't is 'The Night Watch'," explains Wim Pijbes, the museum's director. "It is the altarpiece of the Rijksmuseum, the whole place is arranged around this beautiful masterpiece."