This small study shows the Holy Family resting under palm trees while on the flight to Egypt. Maria is resting on a bundle and is offering her child a small bowl, which Jesus is reaching for with both hands. Joseph, who is sitting near them, is holding the water ready and is avidly watching the child. This absorption with the act of drinking invests this simplicity with a strikingly symbolic character.
The study belongs to the group of Runge's earliest oil works and the composition is still conventionally classical. Around six years later Runge again depicted the same scene in an oil painting that hangs in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg: A work, however, that is bolder in composition and more differentiated in its use of color, thereby surpassing a purely naturalistic rendition.