A restoration in 1980 brought the colours of the clothes back to life: deep red and pale pink lacquer for the Virgin’s clothes, violet and golden yellow for those of Elizabeth and Joseph. Elegant luminous highlights ripple through the clothes of the two figures.
This composition shows a much more Mannerist leaning, with the enveloping movement of the clothing, arms and bodies, the low viewpoint, the cropped figure of Joseph on the left and Elizabeth’s profil perdu. The artist was raised on Baroche’s Roman frescoes. The rustic background here is more typical of the Flemish painters in Rome than of the Lombard tradition.
Like Le Repos pendant la fuite en Egypte [The Rest on the Flight to Egypt] in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (same format and same support), this is an early work by the Lombard painter. His elegant meticulous style would soon develop into monumental and powerful paintings like the Vie de Saint Charles Borromée [The Life of Saint Charles Borromée] in the museum of Milan Cathedral.