The present work is based on a composition in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, that was described in an inventory of 1635 as by Raphael. It hung in the bedroom of Granduke Ferdinando II, to whom it came as part of the inheritance of his wife Vittoria della Rovere. The Pitti painting was removed to Paris as a result of the Napoleonic spoliation of Italy but was returned to Florence in 1816. At that time it was described as being 'from the school of Raphael'. Venturi proposed an attribution to Giulio Romano in 1926, a suggestion supported by Marco Chiarini. Meanwhile, in 1999, Oberhuber tentatively reattributed it to Raphael, placing it at the beginning of his Roman period, circa 1512.
A larger variant of this composition, possibly by Dosso Dossi, was noted by Chiarini (Raffaello, exhibition catalogue, Florence, 1984, pp. 234-6) and a smaller and far inferior copy on copper with an old attribution to Francia was offered at Sotheby's New York (14 January 1994, lot 191).
This panel varies from the original in the Palazzo Pitti in a number of details, notably the garment of the Madonna and the curtain in the background (see M. Chiarini, et al., La Galleria Palatina e gli Appartamenti Reali di Palazzo Pitti: Catalogo dei dipinti, exhibition catalogue, II, Florence, 2003, no. 331).