From this low point of view, the massive figure of the Roman general Astasius appears large and strong. During his occupation of Milan, Astasius ordered his soldiers to arrest any Christians they could find. His soldiers dragged two brothers, Gervais and Protase, before the general, who ordered them to be killed when they refused to make sacrifices to the god Jupiter.
Eustache Le Sueur captured Astasius at the moment when he turns to watch the presentation of Gervais and Protase. Le Sueur drew this monumental figure with a combination of vigorous sketching and precise definition. While the chalk lines on the left side of the figure are free and loose, on the right, the artist painstakingly depicted the drapery folds, using hatching and smudging to create the dark creases.
In March 1652 the churchwardens of the church of Saints Gervais and Protase in Paris commissioned six tapestries from Le Sueur about the lives of the saints. This drawing was one of several studies made for an enormous multi-figured tapestry cartoon. The artist delivered the final design to the tapestry manufactory in May 1653.