The poses of the Virgin and Child reflect the classicism and interest in structural form visible in Italian art, which Dürer studied while he was in Italy from 1494-5. The monkey adds an exotic element.
The landscape in the background, however, is based on Durer's watercolour Fisherman's house on a lake, taken from nature near Nuremberg on Dürer's return from Italy.
This engraving is one of the most popular of Dürer's works. Its appeal may in part be due to this mixture of Italianate forms with elements from northern landscape tradition.