Both the composition and format of this devotional painting, which is entirely dominated by its impressive landscape scenery, suggest that it is a so-called quadro da portego: a painting that originally adorned the elongated banquet hall of a Venetian palazzo. In the foreground, biblical figures and saints have gathered for a Sacra Conversazione: The Virgin Mary in devout contemplation of the Christ Child is joined by the young John the Baptist and the hermit saint Antonius Abbas, recognisable by his monk's habit with staff and bell. The special charm of the picture's invention lies in the fact that it combines a sacred subject with Arcadian motifs derived from pastoral poetry, which was particularly popular in Venice at the time. For example, a shepherd boy with a flute peers curiously over the hedge at the Infant John and his lamb. The steep rock formations on the horizon, on the other hand, are fanciful flights of fantasy inspired by works of Netherlandish painters which were keenly appreciated among Venetian collectors.