The subject of the drawing is unknown. It is therefore not clear whether the depicted figures belong together, or are independent studies with no mutual thematic relation. All that can be said with certainty is that the central figure is a girl possessed by the devil. Scholars date the drawing to the 1520s. At the time, Anselmi worked on the painted decoration of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Parma. According to a prevalent opinion, this is a study for one of the local commissions.