A chubby angel sweeps down from the right, cheeks puffed out as he blows air forcefully into his outstretched trumpet. Mattia Preti used dark, exuberant strokes of red chalk to outline the arms, chest, eyebrows, and cheeks of the angel. He used light hatching to give texture and to create shadows, and quickly sketched the position of the wings.
Preti created this work as a preparatory study for a fresco in the cupola of the church of San Biagio in Modena, Italy. In that church, a nearly identical angel hovers over a window on the rim of the cupola, directing his trumpet towards Saint Jerome. Knowing that Preti finished his work on the frescoes in the church by March 1652, scholars guess that this drawing was finished sometime before this. Despite the pentimenti along the angel's right arm and an added twist to the shape of the trumpet, this drawing is very similar to the fresco and must represent a final stage in the preparation of the composition.