Joos van Cleve was one of the leading artists of 16th-century Antwerp. Among his patrons were the French King, Francis I, and Henry VIII of England. Originally this picture was the centre panel of a triptych. It shows the extremely fine detail and lustrous colouring, which could be achieved through the skilful use of oil paint by a master of the technique. The contrasting textures of glass, fur, polished marble and translucent gauze are represented with painstaking accuracy. Certain details have symbolic significance: the grapes and wine on the table suggest Christ’s blood and the celebration of the mass, while the apple beside the sleeping child is a reminder of the sin of Adam and Eve from which Christ’s death will redeem the world.