In this drawing by Frans Floris, we see the Maenads attacking Pentheus. This is an episode from ‘The Bacchae’, a mythological story by Euripides. The artist probably copied this scene from a sarcophagus. The large figure on the left of the sketch is the mother goddess Cybele, whom he drew after a dilapidated sculpture. It is likely that Floris made this sketch during his stay in Rome (1540–1547) basing it on Antique sculpture. During his stay there, he filled many sketchbooks with drawings, a few of which have survived and which are mainly known from copies.
Floris has a distinctive drawing style that is easily recognized in this drawing, with studies after Antique sculpture. He makes extensive use of parallel hatching. He uses these hatchings in combination with washed ink to create light–dark contrasts, such as shadows in draperies or a dark background. Other typical features include elongated bodies, and small heads with sharp noses and hollow eyes. We can see this in the fighting Maenads in the bottom right of the image.