The sheet, of heavy laid paper, has an unidentified watermark, but similar to others produced in Italy between 1520 and 1530. It comes from the personal collection of Antonio Lafreri (1512 - 1577) who was an engraver and publisher in Rome. The eight small prints, which are part of Parmigianino's engravings corpus, are laid out on a single sheet. The artists printed multiple plates on the same sheet and then they trimmed individual images for the collectors' market. Considering the rarity of each single etching, this specimen is probably unique in the world.
No longer a child, not yet a teenager, the young shepherd appears relaxed, he turns to the observer with a mischievous demeanor as he casually tries to fix the rag hat that slips from his head. As in many of his drawings, Parmigianino analyzes with an extraordinary sensitivity the elements of a nature that is both harsh and luxuriant: the gnarled roots with which the stick ends, or the dog's head with hanging ears, the elongated muzzle and the lively gaze that expresses great tenderness.