The lion and cardinal's hat allow us to identify the figure as St Jerome (382-405). These attributes can also be seen in Dürer's St Jerome seated near a pollard Willow. The skull and the crucifix are reminders of death, and the Christian means of salvation and everlasting life.
Dürer frames his composition, with the foreground step and pier on the left supporting a carved beam. The central window wall allows magical patterns of light to play on the window recesses, floor and ceiling. Dürer took the idea of depicting a saint in a sunny spacious study from Italian artists. The atmosphere recalls the painting St Augustine in his Study (Venice, Scuola di S Giorgio degli Schiavoni), which Carpaccio had just finished when Dürer visited Venice (for the second time) in 1504-7. A preparatory drawing for Carpaccio's painting is in The British Museum.
There is a very wide range of tone in the print. With this Dürer has created the illusion of light, space and texture that is more like a Renaissance painting, showing the outstanding skill that he brought to the engraving technique in his later years.
Dürer's monogram and the date of the engraving can be seen on a plaque on the floor.