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Returning to the project, Dürer borrowed the composition from a painting of Erasmus by Quentin Massys (Louvre, Paris) and inserted his earlier bust-length study. Seeing the engraving, Erasmus noted that the likeness was “not altogether striking.” Later observers have often criticized the composition as awkward. Dürer’s technique, however, rises to a level of differentiation unusual in the late engravings. In their focus and conspicuous detail, numerous passages approach still-life. The light has a pervasiveness and a mystery that suggest both the scholar’s theological concerns and the artist’s own late spirituality. Then there is the conceit of the frame in the background, rhyming with the print’s shape, shedding light like a window but instead bearing inscriptions. The first, in Latin, identifies the artist and the sitter. The second, in Greek, notes, “His writings offer a better likeness.” These inscriptions may refer to the circumstances of the engraving’s creation. 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