Comparable to drawings from the later part of Perugino's career, this drawing may be connected to the composition of an Assumption of the Virgin, possibly one of the projects for pictures in Lyon and San Sepolcro, dateable to the first decade of the 16th Century. Another drawing related to these commissions was sold from the Martin Bodmer Foundation, Christie's, New York, 23 January 2002, lot 140.
Everett Fahy has suggested that the old man is not necessarily an apostle, with reference to the similar figure of Saint Jerome in Perugino's Madonna di Loreto in the National Gallery, London, or a figure behind Saint Joseph in The Betrothal of the Virgin in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen. Both paintings date from the decade before 1510.
We are very grateful to Everett Fahy for confirming this relationship with Perugino on the basis of a photograph.