Within Palma?s oeuvre, this drawing is unusually highly finished and precisely executed. The delicate pen-strokes and light washes used to build up the flowing draperies are reminiscent of the work he produced during his early period in Rome. Compositionally this drawing corresponds closely, but in reverse, to a large Annunciation that Palma painted between 1581-2 for the church of the Jesuit fathers in Venice (now destroyed). Here, Palma fused two different stages in the story. The Virgin Mary gestures with her right hand in a moment of hesitation as she questions the angel Gabriel as to how she shall bear the Son of God. Simultaneously, the dove of the Holy Spirit descends upon her, as Gabriel had answered that the Spirit would be the means of her divine conception.