Massys was highly regarded in Antwerp, as a painter of religious subjects and portraits. He had moved there from Louvain at the end of the fifteenth century when Antwerp succeeded Bruges as an important artistic centre. Massys’s meticulous style and attention to detail developed from the artistic legacy of Van Eyck and Memling. He was, however, also influenced by artistic developments in Italy. His satirical and grotesque paintings reflect an awareness of similar subjects in Leonardo’s drawings and may be connected with Erasmus’s ‘Praise of Folly’. Massys’s portrait of Erasmus, of 1517, was given to Sir Thomas More.