This muscular torso was drawn from life. Reni used black chalk to describe the outline of the body and both black and red chalk to define the modelling applied in his customary feathery technique. White highlights are also included which stand out against the grey paper. The torso and the sketch of a club-wielding arm on the same sheet were preparatory studies for a painting of 'Hercules Slaying the Hydra' (Louvre, Paris). It was one of four celebrated canvases illustrating feats of Hercules which Reni painted for the Duke of Mantua around 1620.