This composition is after a drawing by Fra Bartolommeo in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv. no. 1545). In his 1989 Master Drawings article W.M. Griswold attributes the present sheet to Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, a pupil of Fra Bartolommeo, and suggests that the drawing might have been cut from the same sheet as one by Ridolfo that was also in the collection of the elder Richardson and Ray Livingston Murphy and is now in the collection of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (Griswold, op. cit., pl. 25a). Griswold relates its style and composition to other pen studies of the Virgin and Child by Fra Bartolommeo (although he was unaware of the Berlin drawing) which were the source for an altarpiece by Mariotto Albertinelli, the Friar's closest pupil.
The Berlin drawing and several others in the Uffizi were made in preparation for the picture by Fra Bartolommeo now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (S. Padovani, L'eta di Savonarola: Fra Bartolommeo e la scuola di San Marco, Venice, 1996, p. 62, no. 7).