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Rembrandt reworked this plate eleven times, adding an ever denser network of etched lines until only the light from Joseph's lantern picked out the forms of Mary, Jesus and the mule from total obscurity. Proofs of each of the eleven states were avidly collected.
Jan Pieterz Zomer described his collection of 428 Rembrandt etchings in 1720 as "complete, including every state, in excellent impressions, and such as he [Zomer] nor anyone else could collect their likes, with the same expense and all the pains he took during 50 years."
Purchased by the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art for the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1995.