In this drawing the artist focused on expressing light's ability to shape form. The horse's three-dimensionality and the haloed saint's armor are rendered in a wide range from light to dark, resulting in the effect of rounded, physical forms. In some areas, work began with stylus underdrawing, which the artist then drew over and elaborated on with red chalk.
Scholars are uncertain about the subject of this drawing and its purpose. The drawing probably copies another work of art, The Death of Marcus Curtius, painted by an artist close to Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano. The drawing includes very few pentimenti, areas showing the artist making corrections and changing his mind, increasing the likelihood that the maker was following a pre-existing example. A copyist might have drawn in the black chalk arcs joining the horses' hooves as a guide, since they serve no compositional purpose.