Andrea del Sarto had a significant influence on Florentine painting in the High Renaissance. His later style paved the way for Mannerism, as clearly shown in this work. He painted this extremely sensitively composed depiction of the Virgin and Child's encounter with Elizabeth and the infant St John for a silk merchant from Florence. John's pointing gesture signalises his prophecy 'Ecce agnus dei'. Through the subtly differentiated reactions of the figures, John the Baptist's message is rendered poignantly visible as the essence of this pictorial narrative.