Giorgio Vasari was possibly the first to praise the Death of the Virgin of 'Bel Martino' as one of Schongauer's most important prints. Yet long before Vasari published his Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architetti in 1550, the composition had already been extensively copied and disseminated beyond Germany, into Italy and Flanders, where it might even have influenced Hugo van der Goes' famous painting of the same subject in Bruges.
The relatively large number of impressions from the original plate, approximately seventy impressions are known, further testify to the popularity of this plate. Impressions of the present first state however are rare. Lehrs knew 12 impressions of the first state in public collections, New Hollstein records 21 impression of this state. Both Lehrs and Stogdon call for the present Small Bull's Head with Staff and Star-watermark for the earliest and finest impressions.