Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Wright handpainted 47,000 tiny stars on the antechambers that flank the Night Watch gallery at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

The Glasgow-based artist is known for his incredibly detailed, site-specific works, often applied directly to the architecture of the space.

Here’s hoping Wright and his helpers were able to spring for massages after the endeavor, which must have done a number on their neck and arm muscles.

The museum has been under renovations for the past decade, and Rembrandt’s Night Watch is the only painting that remains in its original place. Now, Wright’s permanent installation will be forever adjacent to the masterpiece.

In a way, it must have been an incredibly meditative experience, repeating the same strokes over and over and over again.

The tools of the trade.

Getting comfortable.

Another star? Another star!

Wright’s Turner Prize-winning gold leaf fresco at London’s Tate Britain was duly covered up with white emulsion and lost to the ages, but he has also done other permanent installations.

The patterns give the flat ceiling a unique sense of depth.

Make a wish!

Richard Wright--the face of an incredibly talented, and incredibly patient man.

Co.Design

Stellar: Richard Wright Paints 47,000 Stars On The Rijksmuseum’s Ceiling

A new permanent installation by the British artist flanks Rembrandt’s Night Watch, the main attraction at the museum.

In the midst of the thoroughgoing and decade-spanning renovation that has transformed Amsterdam’s recently reopened Rijksmuseum, one notable masterpiece remains in its original spot: Rembrandt’s Night Watch still has pride of place at the center of architect Pierre Cuypers’ 1885 magnum opus. Now, the pair of adjacent antechambers that flank the Night Watch gallery are home to a stunning installation by Richard Wright, who (with a little help) has hand-painted 47,000 black stars on the ceiling.

The Glasgow-based artist is known for his incredibly detailed, site-specific works, often applied directly to the architecture of the space: no canvases, no frames. Some, like the constellations at the Rijksmuseum, and a similarly situated stairwell project at the Scottish National Gallery, were designed to remain in place. Others last only as long as the exhibition itself. Wright’s Turner Prize-winning gold leaf fresco at London’s Tate Britain, for example, was duly covered up with white emulsion and lost to the ages.

In the Rijksmuseum project, the patterns of the celestial bodies give the flat surface the illusion of depth; the ceiling appears to curve and bend above the heads of visitors. If the thought of craning your neck to contemplate the mesmerizing display seems like a strain, imagine the steady touch and unbelievable patience it takes to spend hours on your back, painting the same tiny design over and over. Still, Wright and his helpers do get, for their efforts, conceptual and practical rewards. First, the composition will exist alongside Rembrandt’s masterpiece forever--no minor achievement. Second, the artists will, at least for a while, sport some pretty stellar arm muscles.

(h/t Creative Review)

Add New Comment

0 Comments