The portrait of this fair-haired youth is closely related to the idealising portraits of young men that were particularly in demand in Venice from the first decade of the 16th century. This image type, sometimes known as the “lyrical portrait”, testifies to a new sensibility on part of both the artists and their patrons, whose often hidden yearnings and dreams were now to find expression in their likenesses just as much as their outward appearance or social status. With such images, the subject’s expression is simultaneously introspective and sensuous, and the emotional impact often ambiguous. Here, the young man playfully grasps a rose with his dainty fingers and casts a seductive glance at the viewer from the corner of his eye. The inscription alludes to the erotic appeal of the depiction and celebrates the power of art by explaining that while a plucked rose is ephemeral, the painted portrait provides a lasting image of beauty.