Along with his elder brother Dosso Dossi, Battista Dossi was one of the most sought-after artists at the Ferrara court in the first half of the 16th century.
Battista's small-scale painting is executed with great precision in harmony and composition, as demanded in the High Renaissance. In the centre lies the Christ-child on a white cloth, with Mary and Joseph on the right and two shepherds on the left. Above this scene of adoration hovers God the Father in a glowing cloud of light.
Such small-scale altar-pieces generally served for private worship and were also taken on journeys.