Allegorical figures of Fortitude and Patience sit on either side of a large, empty circle that Federico probably intended to contain a device, such as the sugar loaf belonging to the Zuccaro family. Fortitude, one of the four cardinal virtues, sits on the left, symbolizing courage, strength, and endurance. A lion signifying bravery crouches at her feet, while an ox peers over her shoulder. On the right, Patience carries the yoke of servitude or obedience and sits with a lamb at her feet. An ass stands behind her.
The drawing's irregular shape and viewpoint suggest to scholars that it was intended for a ceiling decoration. The light seems to come from the upper left, highlighting one side of the women's faces while casting the other side of their bodies into dark shadow.