The Company of Frans Banning Cocq. known as "The Night Watch"
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
oil on canvas, 1642
Rembrandt's best know and largest canvas was made for the club building of one of Amsterdam's militia companies -- the arquebusiers. Every burgher was required to serve in the guard, but since those included in a group portrait had to pay for the privilege, it is the company's wealthiest members who are shown here. Rembrandt was the first to portray subjects in a group portrait in motion. The captain, in black, is ordering the lieutenant to prepare the company to march. The men are gathering into formation. Using light, Rembrandt focused on salient details such as the captain's gesture and the young girl in the background. She was the company’s mascot.