Albrecht Dürer depicted the humanist scholar standing in his book-filled study and writing a letter. Although the inscription asserts that the likeness was “done from life,” the two men did not meet for an in-person sitting. Instead, Dürer based the portrayal on a drawing he had made during his meeting with Erasmus years earlier and on Quentin Metsys’s medal, while the composition evokes Holbein’s earlier portraits of the scholar writing at his desk. Ultimately, Erasmus did not care for Dürer’s representation and complained about it to friends.
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington