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The Monk in the Cornfield

A work made of etching with drypoint on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching with drypoint on ivory laid paper.


c. 1646


Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669

About this artwork

Rembrandt was never shy about showing naked bodies or erotic subjects in a realistic way. In the 1640s he created several scenes of courting couples outdoors, and The Monk in the Cornfield is one of the most sexually charged of these prints. Despite the print’s tiny size, the graphic depiction of an unchaste monk and an enthusiastic milkmaid coupling surreptitiously makes for a powerful sculptural grouping. The etched suggestion of a farmer with a scythe in the background reinforces the temporary nature of their haven in the wheat field and emphasizes the voyeurism of the viewer.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Rembrandt van Rijn


The Monk in the Cornfield


Netherlands (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Etching with drypoint on ivory laid paper


Image/plate: 4.7 × 6.6 cm (1 7/8 × 2 5/8 in.); Sheet: 5.1 × 6.9 cm (2 1/16 × 2 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection; Amanda S. Johnson and Marion Livingston Endowment

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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