Inscribed on verso in pen and brown ink," [...]".
This sheet entered the Morgan Library & Museum under the name Giovanni della Rovere (ca. 1570-ca. 1640). The style resembles most closely that of the younger brother Giovanni Battista della Rovere rather than Giovanni Mauro. The drawing, with its precise contours and fluid application of brown wash, stylistically resembles a second sheet, also featuring St. Francis, in the Witt Collection, London (Nancy Ward Neilson, "Review: Ugo Ruggeri, Disegni lombardi secenteschi dell'Accademia Carrara di Bergamo," Master Drawings vol. 14, no. 3 (Autumn 1976), pp. 312-313). The Witt drawing, depicting St. Franic Stuggling with the Devil, in an upright oval format, was made in preparation for a ceiling fresco in S. Angelo, Milan.
The lunette format of the Morgan sheet might also suggest that it was made for a decorative fresco cycle. A further lunette-shaped study illustrating a scene from the life of Saint Francis by Giovanni Battista della Rovere was last seen on the Parisian art market in 1967 (exhibited "Dessings Anciens," Genevieve Aymonier, Paris. March 1967). The Parisian and Morgan designs may well have been studies for a fresco cycle in a church cloister dedicated to St. Francis.