This picture was first attributed to Goswijn van der Weyden, the grandson of Rogier, by Andrea Bacchi (loc. cit.) on the basis of its many evident similarities with a painting listed by Friedländer as formerly New York, Hoe collection (see M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, XI, Leiden and Brussels, 1974, pl. 28). Besides the basic stylistic and compositional similarities, the two works also share the frieze of putti playing tug-of-war with a garland, and the unusual, wriggling Christ Child. The Hoe painting had itself been given to Goswijn by Hulin de Loo, who first proposed a compilation of that artist's work (Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, 24, 1913, pp. 59ff.) on the basis of attributional similarities with his series of the Life of Saint Dimpna (Geneva, private collection), part of a large altarpiece painted in circa 1505 for the abbey church of Tongerloo.
The compositional type, which derives from Memling, is one that seems to have been greatly popular in Antwerp at the beginning of the 16th century. A further related example to the present and Hoe pictures is a Holy Family in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg, attributed to the youthful Gossaert (see Friedländer, op. cit., VIII, Leiden and Brussels, 1972, pl. 138), which also shares with the present work the idiosyncratic foliage entwined around the background architecture. Its attribution is based on comparison with the triptych with The Holy Family with Saints Catherine and Barbara in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, also given to Gossaert by Friedländer on the basis of its stylistic affinities with a drawing of The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine in the Kongelige Kobberstik Samling, Copenhagen. However, the attribution of neither of those latter paintings is univerally accepted, and it may be that the links of the former to Goswijn's examples suggest him as a possible author.
The present work has in the past been given to the Master of Hoogstraeten, another hand working in Antwerp in the early 16th Century. That attribution is not surprising, given the close proximity of the picture's composition to a group of works published by Friedländer as by that Master (ibid., VII, Leiden and Brussels, 1971, pls. 86-122), including examples in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (inv. no. 6798), the Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace (possibly a copy of the Vienna picture), and the Uffizi, Florence (inv. no. 698). A further, similarly arranged work, in the John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia, and also given by Friedländer to the Master of Hoogstraeten, borrows elements of the Hamburg picture, again including the background foliage.
Goswijn is known to have employed a number of assistants in his workshop in Antwerp; for that reason, it has frequently been noted that the quality of his output can fluctuate within his oeuvre. Given the links between these groups of pictures, it is interesting to speculate on whether the anonymous Master of Hoogstraeten might not at some point have operated within Goswijn's workshop, and that he subsequently produced variants on his compositions by his former Master, such as the present, Hoe and Hamburg paintings.