Palma Giovane was an inexhaustible draughtsman, working primarily in pen and ink, and more drawings by him survive than by any other Venetian artist of the Cinquecento. He seems to have drawn for pleasure as much as to prepare his paintings, and many of his drawings cannot be related to known works. Palma’s drawings have long been admired by collectors; the 18th century French connoisseur Antoine-Joseph Dézallier d’Argenville wrote of Palma that ‘his pen…is fine & light; it gives off imaginative fireworks, a vivacity of genius that has few equals.’
Although no related painting is known, the octagonal shape of this drawing would suggest that it may have been a preparatory study for a ceiling design.
Palma Giovane treated the subject of The Fall of the Rebel Angels in at least two paintings, though both are different in composition and format from the present sheet.