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Erasmus, the celebrated classical scholar and satirist, was Lady Margaret Professor of Theology in Cambridge from 1511 to 1515. After his return to the Netherlands he commissioned this medal from Quentin Metsys, who was master of the Painters Guild of St Luke at Antwerp, to distribute to his friends. It is one of the early masterpieces of Flemish medallic art, following the artistic and technical tradition of the portrait medals of the Italian Renaissance.