By the beginning of the 16th century, Italian painters had mastered the realistic depiction of three-dimensional forms. Cima used a simple composition of firmly modeled, clearly defined volumes for this straightforward presentation of the Virgin and Child. Neither of the figures is idealized; rather, they are portrayed in distinctly human terms. The Madonna, a large-handed peasant woman, is an image of rustic dignity and maternal devotion. The Christ child's nakedness symbolizes innocence and truth. In the foreground, a ledge separates the earthly realm of the Virgin and Child. The landscape is typical of scenery near Cima's native town of Conegliano, in the alpine region of northern Italy.While Cima is best known for the many half-length Madonnas he painted for Venetian churches and civic buildings, the small size of this painting indicates that it was made instead for a household altar.