Title:Saint Jerome by the Pollard WillowArtist:Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn Date:1648Creation Place:Europe, NetherlandsCredit Line:The John R. Van Derlip FundAccession Number:2009.19.3
This image seems to have begun as a straightforward study of a willow tree, battered by violent weather and disfigured by harvesters taking its branches. As Rembrandt's imagination took hold, the wizened tree became both haven and metaphor for the aged saint, who carries on his studies at his ramshackle desk. With a few strokes of his etching needle, Rembrandt moved the scene from Holland's flat terrain to an alpine valley with a waterfall.
This print, acquired by the MIA in 2009, is a major addition to the museum's collection of Rembrandt etchings. The copper plate used to print this image deteriorated quickly, but this impression was printed while the plate was still fresh. This is the finest example to have appeared on the market in more than 50 years.