There has long been speculation as to why Rembrandt left this print unfinished, unsigned and undated. Contrary to his usual practice of completing the setting before working on the figure (cf. The Artist drawing from the Model (B., Holl. 192), here the reverse appears to be the case; the focus has been entirely on establishing the essential balance of contrasts around the sitter's face and hand. Perhaps Rembrandt stopped because he had captured the moment and the effects that interested him. Alternatively, the rationale may have been more commercial in nature, based upon the knowledge that collectors sought out early proofs and first states, and that leaving the plate unfinished might add to its desirability.