The Virgin Mary sits on a cushioned throne, watching her mother Saint Anne lovingly clutching the baby Jesus. On the right, Saint Joseph peers eagerly over her shoulder. A cluster of putti hovers overhead, carrying a large piece of fabric to shelter the Holy Family from behind.
Pietro Testa produced two other compositional studies of this scene, probably in preparation for an altarpiece. Since this study lacks detail in the background and is the least finished of the three, it must be the earliest. The final drawing of the group is rounded at the top, implying a curved frame, but no final painting is known today.