The precise nature of the relationship between Schiavone and Parmigianino has long been a matter of debate. In her landmark study of 1913 Lili Froelich-Bum posited the idea that Schiavone may have been an assistant in the master's etching studio. Francis Richardson in his 1980 monograph argues convincingly against this on the grounds that he 'takes far too many liberties' with Parmigianino's designs to have been employed as a reproductive printmaker. However, both are in agreement in believing that the series from which the present composition comes probably comprises Schiavone's earliest etchings.
His technique seems to have been largely self-taught, and is certainly unlike that of any contemporary, using dense webs of light, fine, multidimensional hatching as a way to create a tonal continuum. He was the first Italian artist to use drypoint extensively, and was also a forerunner in using plate-tone to enhance the modelling of a figure. Richardson quotes Lamberto Donati thus: 'Schiavone was a precursor of new methods that only later were developed and exploited fully...; his formal inspiration remains quite weak, and always linked to (Parmigianino); however, he was able to elaborate it with a force and a genius that often surpass by a wide margin the powers of the master.' In Mariette's words 'although most incorrect, there are no prints that more flatter the taste of the good connoisseur.'