Around 1650 Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn made a number of pen-and-ink drawings and etchings of wooded scenes. He emphasized certain elements, subordinated others, and gave each landscape both unity and a poetic effect. Here he drew the trees with quick, thin strokes of the quill pen, suggesting their forms rather than specifically describing them. To emphasize the bulk of the tree at the left, he drew it darker and scratched through the paper's brown-tinted surface to create the white highlights.
About ten years earlier, Rembrandt had begun drawing many landscapes. He roamed the area around Amsterdam, creating drawings and etchings that captured the Dutch countryside and its light and atmosphere, always with an economy of technique. As in this informal drawing, his landscapes express spontaneity and freshness while appearing like complete representations of the scenes he observed.