In the 1850s, it was brought from Giovanni Morelli’s collection by Giacomo Poldi Pezzoli, and it is now in the Musea Poldi Pezzoli in Milan. Giuseppe Molteni restored the painting in 1863 by adding a varnish which over time has now yellowed.
The painting is the product of the canvas, a fine texture, and some thin colour layers that can be observed in the lighter areas. The painting is part of a group of Madonnas with Child of Mantegna’s format dedicated for private devotion. In the painting, Maria is holding her Child, resting it on her knee while she caresses it with her hands. The right hand is short to illustrate the master's interest in illusion. Maria’s expression exudes melancholy and thoughtfulness. There is no happy feeling, which is an indication of the realization of the death her son is going to experience.
Just like the work of Madonna with Sleeping Child, or that of Carrara Academy of Bergamo, the mother and child are embraced gently in a natural way, with their faces touching each other, just like in Donatello’s work. This artwork also borrows from the discipline of sculpturing, which can be seen in the plastic relief and the rounded figures with which they come from the penumbra. You can see the resemblance in the sculptural art like Madonna Pazzi which is Donatello’s work.
The union between Maria and her Child is underlined by the Virgin veil that is made of heavy blue cloth to cover both figures, to create a pictorial mass without amplifying how the mother protects the child. The effect is also brought about by the yellowish paint on the canvas that Giuseppe Molteni imposed. The painting has a dark background with two side strips that depict a frame made of stone behind the Virgin, and a stratagem to project the sacred figure. The garment and the Virgin ’s hair also have some golden highlights.