At the top of the painting the artist has devised an arch-like frame from two disparate landscapes, which concentrates attention on the Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist. Mary looks to the viewer and smiles while John the Baptist points to Jesus. The infant Christ wears a bracelet of coral, an accessory once commonly given to children in order to ward off evil and disease.
Giovan Battista Ramenghi, called Bagnacavallo junior, was the son of a modestly successful Bolognese artist who worked in the style of Raphael. Bagnacavallo junior’s career was more diverse and included sojourns with Primaticcio at Fontainebleau in France and Giorgio Vasari in Rome. This painting is one of his earliest works and is highly influenced by the major Bolognese painter and architect Pellegrino Tibaldi.