The young scholar wears a red biretta and a black paltrok, a loose-fitting garment worn with a sash around the waist. He has just used his quill to write a line on the sheet of paper he holds in his hand. It bears a Latin inscription, which can be seen in mirror image through the paper: ‘Oia dat dominus non habet ergo mius,’ meaning ‘The Lord gives all, He possesses no less for it’. Above and to the left of the boy’s head is the date 1531; to the right are the Latin words, ‘Aetatis 12’, ‘aged 12’. An aphorism in Latin appears in the lower section. The artist spaced the first few words widely, leaving insufficient room for the remainder of the text, with the result that the last part of the inscription is cramped. It reads, ‘Quis dives? Qui nil cupit. Quis pauper? Avar’: ‘Who is rich? He who covets nothing. Who is poor? The miser’. The saying comes from a book by the distinguished humanist Erasmus. These wise words were intended to guide the scholar on his journey through life. The unsigned painting is widely accepted as a work by Jan van Scorel, though some art historians attribute it to Scorel’s pupil Maarten van Heemskerck, who painted similar portraits in the same period. The delicate style, however, tips the balance in favour of Van Scorel.