Northlanders will get to see famous artworks by 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt up close in an exhibition planned for later this year.

The exhibition has digital reproductions of 57 works and each has been "remastered", as accurately as possible, to reflect what the painting looked like at the time it was completed in Rembrandt's studio.

The exhibition is part of a long-running Dutch project to bring together all Rembrandt's 330 known paintings, the originals of which are spread across about 20 countries.

Only 43 paintings are in the Netherlands, in eight museums in five different cities.


But to ensure the artworks make it to Northland, the Rotary Club of Whangarei South is working on getting sponsorship of $17,500. There will be a few more thousands needed for associated costs.

The works will be on display from June 17 to July 17.

Rotary club member and project organiser Murray Neighbour said it was a unique opportunity for Northlanders to see 57 Rembrandt paintings at two venues - Whangarei Museum and Reyburn House.

"This is something everyone can enjoy and lets hope it brings the art community together," he said.

Mr Neighbour first saw the exhibition in Nelson while on Rotary business. He admits he is no arts buff but was extremely impressed with the digitally enhanced masterpieces.

"I've been to the Sistine Chapel and this is more impressive," he said.

A highlight was a 4 x 3 metre group portrait of an Amsterdam militia company, entitled The Nightwatch. It was originally painted in 1642. But when first painted it was even bigger - a slice was lopped off one side to make it fit on a wall. The remastered version will include the missing piece.

Mr Neighbour was approaching local businesses for sponsorship.