Underneath his metal breastplate, the standard bearer wears an elegant doublet and breeches that have been quite literally "torn to ribbons." The fashion for slashing garments became extremely popular in Europe in the early 1500s, particularly in Germany, where it reached the most extravagant levels. Tailors cut slits in the clothing and pulled the lining through, usually to show a different color. The doublet's wide, flowing sleeves and the decorative feathered headdress show that his garb is more for display than for battle.
With his left hand on his sword hilt and the right hand gripping the banner, the soldier stands at a slight angle, thrusting his hips forward to reveal his codpiece. This stance and the shadowed torso give his figure a measure of depth, integrating him with the background landscape.
Discovering the artist of this small round drawing and its pair has proven difficult for scholars. It belongs to a group of approximately forty other similar works, all showing mercenary soldiers in various activities. This subject was popular in south Germany and Switzerland at the beginning of the 1500s, so many scholars assume these works came from this area.