Hear Rembrandt speak

The Rijksmuseum is holding a retrospective of Rembrandt’s works to mark the 350th anniversary of the death of the artist.
The Rijksmuseum is holding a retrospective of Rembrandt’s works to mark the 350th anniversary of the death of the artist. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AMSTERDAM • Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 to 1669) has been dead for 350 years, but has been given a voice again in Amsterdam.

American scientists presented a reconstruction of his voice last week in Amsterdam in six videos, entitled the Rembrandt Tutorials, in which the icon speaks about his technique of painting.

Mr Rica Singh from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh said the team attempted to reconstruct his voice based on self-portraits.

Since it is possible to draw conclusions about a voice based on the outward appearance of the person speaking, attempts have been made to use this as the basis to reconstruct the voice.

It was possible to digitally reproduce the anatomy of Rembrandt's head and estimate his lung capacity.

"Someone who knew him would probably be very touched by the voice," Mr Singh said.

Since Rembrandt speaks 17th-century Dutch in the videos, his voice is subtitled.

Rembrandt expert Jonathan Bikker said he found Rembrandt's voice "a bit haughty and grumpy".

The voice reconstruction was commissioned by Dutch bank ING - a main sponsor of Amsterdam's world famous Rijksmuseum - for Rembrandt Year 2019, the 350th anniversary of the death of the painter.

The museum has the world's largest collection of Rembrandt paintings.

DPA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline 'Hear Rembrandt speak'. Print Edition | Subscribe