While Christ bends beneath a heavy cross, he still retains a serene air. In contrast, the soldier on the right glares back at him ferociously, seemingly determined to add to Christ's burden by pressing down on the cross. Sodoma focused on these facial expressions to emphasize the peace of God, even amidst suffering.
Sodoma used a highly elaborate technique to draw this scene, with considerable white heightening to create painterly effects for both the faces and the garments of the figures. He drew the Resurrection on the verso in a more calm, classical manner with a more linear technique. Brush and brown ink delineate Christ's muscular body as he emerges from the edge of the tomb with one foot still inside. Cross-hatching and white heightening build up the folds of drapery that flow around him. Sodoma made this study in preparation for a 1535 fresco of the Resurrection in a public building in Siena.