Taking the subject from the Gospel of Luke, Valerio Castello captured the dramatic scene in which Christ prays earnestly before his Crucifixion, on a knoll above the apostles sleeping below. The artist relied on line to create gradations of light and shadow and to model the figures' forms, unifying the drawing with a wide range of hatching and cross-hatching. Light diagonal lines create the dark clouds on the left and the folds in the apostles' robes, while delicate strokes of bodycolor create luminous patterns of highlights.
Scholars have been unable to identify any painting whose composition corresponds to this drawing. Judging from its high degree of finish and small scale, it was more likely made as a design for an etching or engraving.