The Next Rembrandt

Using technology and data to bring the master back to life  

Dutch bank ING has been sponsoring Dutch arts and culture for more than 10 years. The agency wanted to evolve this sponsorship and turn it into a proof of their innovative spirit. 

The idea was to use technology to bring back to live the most famous Dutch painter of all times: Rembrandt Van Rijn. 

The ambition was to ‘teach’ a computer to paint like him by using deep learning algorithms and face recognition software to gather data from Rembrandt’s body of work.

Over the course of 2 years a team of 20 people worked on making this vision a reality, including art historians, material researchers, data scientists and engineers, along with partners like Microsoft and advisers from TU Delft, The Mauritshuis and The Rembrandt House Museum.

Created out of 14 layers of 3d printed paint, and consisting of over 148 million pixels based on 168,263 painting fragments from all 346 of Rembrandt's paintings, the resulting work was presented in Amsterdam on the 5th of May 2016.  

The painting instantly became a milestone in the history of arts, catching the attention of a broader audience of experts, press and public. And moving ING’s sponsorship to the core of a global debate around the boundaries of data, technology and arts.


FULL CREDITS

Agency: J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
Executive Creative Director: Bas Korsten
Concept: Bas Korsten, Robert Nelk, Mark Peeters
Creative Art: Guney Soykan
Creative Copy: Bas Korsten, Kasia Haupt
Head of Technology: Emanuel Flores
Design: Vinesh Gayadin
Project Director: Jesse Houweling
Strategy: Agustin Soriano
Developer: Morris Franken, Ben Haanstra
3D Artist: Andre Ferwerda
Editor: Tim Arnold
PR Director: Jessica Hartley
Brand Manager: Elisah Boektje
Screen Producer: Frederique van der Hoeven, Mariska Fransen
Print Producer: Chariva Geurtsen

Animations: Kreukvrij (Olaf Gremie)
Website Production: Superhero Cheesecake
Special Advisors: David Navarro, Jeroen Van Der Most, Ferran López

Film Production: New Amsterdam Film Company
Director: Juliette Stevens
Executive Producer: Sander Verdonk

Sound Studio: Studio Alfred Klaassen

MY ROLE

I will always consider myself lucky for having been involved in two different short-but-intense phases of this 18 month long project.

My contribution as creative advisor was to help the agency team explore, define and present the different iterations of the idea, plus lending a hand in defining the processes that would better suit each of these challenging explorations.

Needless to say all the merit of this multi-awarded project goes to ECD Bas Korsten, HoT Emmanuel Flores and the rest of the folks at JWT Amsterdam, the most stubborn and restless professionals I’ve ever worked with.