In 1661, the Amsterdam city council commissioned Rembrandt to complete a painting for the newly built city hall. The resulting work, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, was rejected and returned to the painter. The surviving fragment is only a fraction of the whole work which was originally the largest he ever painted, at around five by five metres in the shape of a lunette.
The Night Watch (or The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq) was commissioned for the new hall of the Kloveniersdoelen, the musketeer branch of the civic militia. The painting caused quite a stir because it departed from convention which required that such genre pieces should be stately and formal.
The unfinished painting found on his easel the day after Rembrandt died was of an old man holding an infant. It is called Simeon with the Christ Child in the Temple, a subject he had painted twice before, much earlier in his career. The final treatment of this subject is quite different, stripped down to its essentials, with a muted palette and no pageantry or onlookers -- just an old man and a baby, with another figure behind them in shadow.