1. A fine, early, strong and yet transparent impression with considerable burr in the darker parts of the composition. With small margins.
2. Part of the interest of this work is that it is the first etching where Rembrandt used drypoint extensively. Some of the figures in fact are drawn entirely in drypoint, resulting in strong burr in early impressions such as this one.
3. In the story depicted, Mordecai is being led through the streets by a disgraced Haman. Sitting on the balcony of the city gate, Ahasueras and Esther are watching the scene. What is to be noted is that the city gate in question is the same one found in Rembrandt’s most famous painting, The Nightwatch, executed in the following year of 1642 and that the King and Esther seem to have features of Rembrandt himself and Saskia.
4. Rembrandt took this subject from the Old Testament (Esther 6):
On that night the king could not sleep; and he commanded to brought the book of records of the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, of those that kept the door, who had sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus. And the king said: ‘What honor and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?’ Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him ‘There is nothing done for him’. And the king said: ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman came into the outer court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hand Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s servants said unto him: ‘Behold, Haman standeth in the court.’ And the king said ‘Let him the come in.’ So Haman came in. And the king said unto him ‘What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?’ Now Haman said in his heart ‘Who would the king delight to honor besides myself?’ And Haman said unto the king
‘For the man whom the king delighteth to honor, let royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and on whose head a crown royal is set; and let the apparel and the horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man therewith whom the king delighteth to honour, and cause him to ride on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him: Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.’ Then the king said to Haman ‘Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou has said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate; let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.’ Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and caused him to ride through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him: ‘Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.’