Giovanni Paolo Panini probably made this study of three men in varied poses to provide figure types for his views of Rome, called vedute. Although he usually focused on elaborate architecture, he gave a sense of scale and humanity to his scenes by adding numerous small figures performing various tasks.
Panini drew these figures very quickly with thick black chalk lines, later adding gray wash in a range of strengths. He first lightly sketched in the overall form of the central figure, then added layers of wash to define the creases in his breeches and jacket. The darkest washes represent the shadows.