The Windmill

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

Date: 1641

Medium: Etching

Dimensions: Sheet: 5 7/8 x 8 5/16 in. (15 x 21.1 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Gift of Felix M. Warburg and his family, 1941

Accession Number: 41.1.12


Rembrandt depicted the boundary between city and countryside. The print shows the so-called Little Stink Mill, an actual windmill that stood on the De Passeerde bulwark along the city wall that ran down the west side of Amsterdam. The mill was owned by the Leathermakers Guild and its nickname derived from its activity of softening tanned leather by treating it with cod liver oil. Rembrandt traced the mill and its surroundings in such detail that it seems likely he began the print on site and then finished it in the studio. Visible in the sky are diagonal striations that result from his having brushed acid over the surface of the printing plate for effect, and craquelure was more likely the result of an accident that occurred as the plate was being bitten by the acid.