The meeting between Elisabeth and Mary is depicted in the centre of the painting. The expectant mothers are in a sixteenth-century setting and are dressed in the fashion of the period. Zacharias, Elisabeth’s husband and the expectant father of John the Baptist, is greeting the two women from the doorway, leaning his right hand on an axe. The Visitation was a popular subject in painting of the fifteenth and sixteenth century, when the Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary really took off. Due to the vertical dimensions of the painting, the perspective lines of the architecture run almost diagonally across the picture. This ‘central perspective’ draws the viewer’s gaze right into the painting, as it were.
The composition is based on a woodcut from Albrecht Dürer’s series, the Life of the Virgin. Such borrowings were very common at the time. The anonymous Master of Wittenberg may have worked at the Cranach workshop, which was situated in Wittenberg.