In depicting this angel, Innocenzo da Imola most importantly intended to analyze the effects of light and shadow on the drapery. Omitting such details as background, hair, and one foot, he focused on a flowing rhythm of drapery folds that is beautiful as an abstract design. The brown-tinted paper plays an active role, serving as the middle tone between the highlights in brushed-on white gouache and the spots of deepest shadow in brown wash and black chalk.
Innocenzo first made the full figure, then reconsidered the drapery in the second, smaller study at the lower right. Expanding the fabric more fully gave him a more interesting, more three-dimensional surface with which to display his mastery. He made this drawing in preparation for an angel in one of his altarpieces in Bologna.