Saint Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples, was not present when the resurrected Christ first appeared to his disciples. Until he had seen for himself the wounds of Jesus' Crucifixion, Thomas refused to believe in the Resurrection. When Jesus appeared again, he instructed Thomas to touch the nail holes in his hands and feel the gash in his side. Finally, "Doubting Thomas" believed.
In this composition, a heroic Christ strides forward confidently, cape billowing and surrounded by a radiant glow. Pellegrino Tibaldi characteristically used a nervously energetic line and treated the disciples' hair as if composed of small ringlets. His Mannerist tendencies led him to fill the sheet almost to overflowing with his swelling figures. Taking inspiration from Michelangelo's massive forms, Tibaldi gave the figures muscularity, vitality, and heavy limbs. His profuse white heightening gives this drawing the feel of a painting.
On the verso, Tibaldi made a study for the figure of Thomas.