The Venetian-born Battista Franco began his artistic education by studying not the tradition of his native city, but that of rivals Rome and Florence. He made many pen-and-ink sketches of figures from the works of great artists to be seen in these cities, much like contemporaries Francesco Salviati and Giorgio Vasari. His source for this pose may have been the figure of Adam in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling, or one of Michelangelo’s sculptures for the unfinished Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici, which also include masks, as does this sheet. It may have been produced in preparation for one of several decorative projects for Triumphal entries on which the artist worked in 1536. Otherwise it is perhaps simply an independent drawing made during this same period, during which Franco showed a particularly strong interest in the work of Michelangelo.