Trained by his father Bernardino, Aurelio received numerous important commissions from religious institutions in Lombardy throughout his life. His first major fresco cycle was for San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore in Milan around 1555, on which he collaborated with his brother Giovan Pietro, and where his father had already supplied the majority of the frescoes. The attribution to Aurelio Luini of the present drawing was first suggested by Robert Landolt who bought it with an attribution to Simone Cantarini in 1954 (see Provenance), and the fluent and graceful style of this sheet are indeed entirely characteristic of Aurelio’s draughtsmanship. It is close, for example, to a drawing previously in the Jeffrey E. Horvitz collection of bearded men (sold at Sotheby’s, New York, 23 January 2008, lot 3). Other comparable figure studies can be found in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle and the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan (see A.E. Popham and J. Wilde, The Italian Drawings of the XV and XVI Centuries in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, London, 1949, no. 408, fig. 148 and G. Bora, Disegni di manieristi lombardi, Vicenza, 1971, no. 94, ill.). The squaring of the drawing indicates that it must have been executed as a design for a painting or fresco, but it does not correspond to any of the artist’s known surviving works.