Vincenzo Catena was with his contemporary Marco Basaiti one of the two major followers of Giovanni Bellini who were least affected by the developments in Venetian painting associated with Titian and Palma Vecchio. He would until his death in 1531 remain true to an essentially quattrocento vision, exemplified by this early work, the attribution of which is confirmed on the basis of a photograph by Professor Peter Humfrey. A related panel, the landscape of which is however different, is in the Art Institute of Chicago (C. Lloyd, Italian Paintings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection, Princeton, 1993, pp. 62-4). This panel is very close, both in the types and in the treatment of the landscape and clouds, to the signed Holy Family with a Female Saint at Budapest, which Robertson dates post 1505 (G. Robertson, Vincenzo Catena, Edinburgh, 1954, p. 43, no. 6).
We are grateful to Philippe Palasi for noting that the escutcheon on the reverse is of a type used at the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, and for suggesting that the arms are those of the Venier family, one of the great noble houses of Venice.