Washington D.C., Jan 14, 2010 / 02:18 am
A Rembrandt etching rediscovered by the president of the Catholic University of America during his search for paper towels is the focus of a new exhibit which opened at the university’s John K. Mullen of Denver Library on Monday.
The etching measures 4.5 by 5 inches and has a paper backing that is crumbly and darkened with age. It bears a French inscription saying the picture is “the bust of an old man with a great beard seen about most of the face… His head a little perched gives him… the attitude of a man who sleeps,” according to the Catholic University of America (CUA).
Msgr. David M. O’Connell, C.M., found the etching soon after he was appointed CUA’s president in 1998. In notes that are part of the exhibit, Fr. O’Connell says he discovered the piece while looking for paper towels in Nugent Hall, which serves as the president’s office.
"I went into the restroom in Nugent Hall and opened a cabinet there," his notes read. "I found the paper towels but as I was closing the cabinet door, I noticed on the bottom shelf under some junk, a picture frame jutting out. I bent down, pulled out the frame only to discover an etching that looked familiar to me. Why it was there or how it got there, I’ll never know."