You are immediately struck by the fewer number of figures seen here, just the three mentioned in the painting's title and no more. They stand prominently in the foreground whilst a charming landscape scene brightens an otherwise depressing composition across the background. His signature blue sky and sprawling hills are present.

There is also a tall tree placed on the left hand side to frame the content effectively and avoid elements drifting. The three figures cast dark shadows on the immediate foreground and this helps to further provide a contrast with the brightness that sits behind them. Elements of the blue colour in the sky continue down onto the hills, but most retain a natural brown with touches of green shrubbery.

Altdorfer was known for putting most detail into his paintings and less into his etchings. He was essentially someone who specialised in that medium, though his drawings were also highly regarded. Colour was an important element of his success and painting was far better suited to that than the other mediums in which he was involved. He sometimes added elements of watercolour washes to his drawings to add a little colour but it would never be as bold as his preferred medium.

Christ on the Cross with Mary and John in Detail Albrecht Altdorfer