To make a nod to Charles Saatchi’s latest analytical exposé of his best-loved masterpieces in The Daily Telegraph, how about a flash mob?
It’s already been duly noted that the craze for indulging in throngs of slap happy strangers’ synchronised choreography peaked more than a few years ago. We get it with the droll dance moves and uplifting sense of community already.
However, just like the composition facing scrutiny in this week’s column, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch  of 1642 — a grand painterly time capsule of the eminent chumminess and wholesome repute money could easily buy during the Dutch Golden Age — some unwarranted, sort of creepily frolicsome outbursts of collective triumph over workaday routines are real chefs-d’œuvre.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch, or The Night Watch, 1642, Oil on canvas, Rijksmusem

Take for instance the flash mob organised a few years back to commemorate the fancy schmancy reopening of the Rijksmuseum, where Rembrandt’s towering original canvas is housed. Trailing banners after their Protestant-chic ruffs and plumes, and even coming in hot on swinging ropes,  a cohort of players invaded the local mall in the city of Breda; trotting, bustling, diving and bulldozing consumers to perfectly recreate the Old Master’s seminal seventeenth-century scene of no-nonsense spying on the neighbours.
Perhaps it’s so 2013 to some, but, surely it can be somewhat conceded, that the act of commandeering a shopping centre in the Netherlands with stallions, falcons and pantalooned burghers in the name of the cultural sector merits a little taste of immortality, too.
Emily Catrice

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