This drawing unites two traditional forms of representing the Virgin and Child. Firstly, the image of the Virgin suckling the infant Christ highlights her position as the nurturer of Christ, and through him, carer of all humanity (Virgo Lactans). Secondly, the book that she holds in her left hand is a symbol of her divine wisdom and her submission to the word and will of God (Mother of Wisdom). The freehand and ruled lines towards the margins of the sheet indicate that Farinati gave some thought as to how best to frame the group. This may imply that the drawing was a preparatory study for a painting or print, although no corresponding work is known.