Mary is standing in the nave of a Gothic cathedral, larger than life, and with the child. The detailed depiction of the architecture and the subtle grading of the light give the church interior a spatial aura that is all its own. The bright daylight coming in through the leadframed clerestory windows and the side portal is a reminder of the passage of time. The recorded inscription on the frame, which has not survived, praised the miracle of Christ's birth and Mary's virginity. The sunlight, which penetrates the windows without destroying them, also relates allegorically to Mary, who was a mother and yet remained a virgin. The light, penetrating the church from the north, also refers to the supernatural significance of all things. The ambiguity of the picture is appropriate to Christian thinking in the late Middle Ages. Thus architecture, light and the altar indicate Mary's priestly role and her quality as the house of God and temple of Christ.