Despondently, his old head in his hands, the Biblical prophet Jeremia weeps over the burning of Jerusalem, visible in the left background. The prophet had himself predicted its destruction. This is one of the best paintings Rembrandt did just before leaving the city of Leiden. By this time he was making use of pronounced light and dark contrasts to separate significant elements from less important ones, and to heighten the dramatic impact of a scene. The differences in finishing are also characteristic: the surroundings are rendered cursorily, whereas in the foreground Rembrandt has devoted considerable attention to the representation of fabric and materials, and the reflection of light.
From the collection of S. Stroganoff (St. Petersburg) Purchased in 1939, with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, the Fotocommissie, private individuals, and the State.