As has been recognized since its initial publication in 1901, when the panel was in the ownership of the discriminating Paris collector, Martin Le Roy, this panel is related to the background of the celebrated Adoration of the Shepherds, once at Downton and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (no.32.130.2), painted by Mantegna in circa 1450-1, and regarded by Christiansen as the first picture in the artist's fully developed style. This fragment corresponds with the top right section of the New York composition, showing a couple advancing and behind them the angel appearing to a shepherd, but the composition is extended to the right, to show a youth beside the couple and a tree; the tree, without the youth, appears in the copy at Windsor (A.E. Popham and J. Wilde, The Italian Drawings of the XV and XVI Centuries in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, London, 1949, no. 15, fig. 6; Lightbown, pl. 34) of a larger section of the right portion of the New York composition, with the two shepherds who are so prominent in that picture. Le Roy seems to have accepted that his fragment was not by Mantegna himself, and in the catalogue of his collection by Pératé argued that the artist would not have repeated himself so closely. Some of those who have subsequently written about the panel had not seen it and the condition means that its attribution may remain uncertain, but it can only have been painted in the immediate workshop of Mantegna at a time when he can have had few associates.