The composition depicts the goddess of grain and harvest, Ceres, searching for her daughter Proserpina, who unknown to her has been abducted by Pluto. Having searched tirelessly and without stopping to drink, she stops by the house of the aged Metanira who offers her barley water. Nearby stands the boy Stellio who bursts into laughter at the sight, accusing her of drinking greedily. Angered, she will turn him into a lizard. The etching follows Elsheimer’s composition precisely, and was produced with his knowledge, while he still lived. He developed the scene independent of any visual source, incorporating references to Pluto, in the wheel on which Ceres’ torch, with its flame from Mount Aetna, and to Ceres domain of grain and harvest, with the foliage and the farmer in the background.Below the scene Goudt added a Latin inscription recounting the story, penned by Janes (Johannes) Rutger (1589-1625), a poet and diplomat whose sister was married to the famed Amsterdam scholar Daniel Heinsius (1580-1655). He adds references to himself as the etcher and calligrapher, and Elsheimer as the original artist. Lastly he includes a dedication to Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1576-1633), evidently his patron and likely the source of his nobel title, who was also an important patron of Caravaggio, the artist most significant for Elsheimer’s striking use of light.