These six drawings form part of a group of studies, by two different hands, related to the Prophets and Sibyls who appear on the frieze in the central nave of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma, commissioned from Correggio and his workshop as part of their decoration of that church (Fig. 1). Other drawings from the group are in the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (inv. 288-291) and in the British Museum (inv. 1946-7-13-631). In an unpublished study of the present drawings, Elisabetta Fadda has argued that, while the Rotterdam and British Museum drawings appear to be by Francesco Maria Rondani (1490-1550), the present drawings can be attributed to Michelangelo Anselmi on the basis of the figures' facial types and the handling of the chalk, which she considers to be absolutely characteristic of the artist.
Three of the present drawings show figures which were etched, in reverse, by Jan de Bisschop in about 1669, as part of a sheet showing eight of the prophets and sibyls. The etching (Fig. 2) may record the original appearance of the present drawings as part of a larger sketchbook page.