Described in the old inventories and sale catalogues as Venus and a Satyr, the title adopted by Gersaint in his catalogue raisonné of 1751, this is now accepted as actually depicting Jupiter and Antiope the subject of the smaller 1631 etching (B. 204, see following lot).
A favorite subject in late renaissance art, this composition is based on an engraving by Annibale Carracci, an impression of which is also included in the Lot. Rembrandt altered Caracci's composition, dispensing with the narrative distractions such as the distant landscape and the hovering amor, in order to concentrate more fully on a nude at rest. The scene depicted is far removed from the ravages which will follow. As with the other most desirable impressions of late nudes, this example is on warm toned Japanese paper which gives a special softness to the drypoint lines, to the light and to the subject itself.