In the upper region of this elaborate drawing, the Madonna and Christ Child survey four saints appealing for the banishment of the plague. The Madonna gestures toward a kneeling Saint Jerome who, accompanied by his lion, makes an emotional plea with arms wide apart. Above Jerome, Saint John Nepomuk makes a similar appeal. In the lower third of the drawing, Saint Sebastian--with his quiver of arrows in front of him--and Saint Roch gesture dramatically toward the Madonna and Child. The saints' appeals appear to have been heard: At the right edge of the scene, a figure symbolizing the plague flees from an angel brandishing a trumpet.
Gaspare Diziani was a prolific draftsman, but most of his drawings do not exhibit such a high degree of finish. This modello therefore, may have been shown to a patron for a proposed large-scale altarpiece. The inclusion of Saint John Nepomuk, a patron saint of Prague and Munich, and the unusual crowns worn by the Madonna and Christ Child, suggest that the drawing dates to the artist's stay in Germany from 1717 to 1720. Much of the original preparatory red-chalk underdrawing remains visible, revealing changes made by Diziani. For example, Saint Roch's right arm was extended initially, but in the finished ink drawing the arm is placed on his chest.