The Three Trees

Artist: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)

Date: 1643

Medium: Etching with drypoint and engraving

Dimensions: plate: 8 3/8 x 10 15/16 in. (21.3 x 27.8 cm)
sheet: 8 3/8 x 11 1/8 in. (21.3 x 28.3 cm)
mount: 14 1/4 x 19 1/4 in. (36.2 x 48.9 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.107.31


The Three Trees is Rembrandt's largest and most striking etched landscape. Here he masterfully combined techniques (drypoint, engraving, varied depths of etched lines, and a speckled tone) to create a sense of nature in flux. He animated the landscape with many details: an artist sketching on the hill at right, a fisher couple at lower left, and an amorous couple hidden in the darkened foreground bushes. Some of the unnatural cloud formations left of center indicate that Rembrandt may have etched The Three Trees on a plate that contained an abandoned sketch for The Death of the Virgin, a composition he continued on a larger plate in 1639.