In this intimate portrait of the Holy Family, Joseph leans protectively over the shoulder of the Virgin Mary, who twists around to show him the Christ Child. Baldassare Peruzzi drew the figures so that the viewer seems to be looking up at them, while they in turn look back down at the viewer.
Deftly handling the point of the quill, Peruzzi indicated both the lighting and the volume of the forms with a delicate network of hatching and cross-hatching. Numerous lines suggest the wavy strands of Joseph's hair and beard, the Madonna's long, flowing robes, and her strong legs beneath the folds of fabric.
A grid in black chalk has been drawn over the figures of the Virgin and Child in order to simplify copying the drawing onto another surface.