As he waits to be beheaded by the soldiers who surround him, Saint George kneels at the bottom center of the drawing. Two soldiers on horseback stand on each side to ensure that the saint does not escape. Looking up to the heavens, the saint watches the figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity intercede on his behalf with the Virgin and Child in the upper right corner. Saints Peter and Paul sit at the feet of Mary and the infant Jesus, attended by music-making angels.
Paolo Veronese made this drawing as a preparatory study for an altarpiece in Verona from about 1566. Although the drawing is very loose, it established the basic compositional features of the painting as well as the arrangement and character of the individual figures. Veronese's masterful integration of pen and wash was characteristic of his mature style.