This is a fragment from a polyptych, a type of altarpiece comprising many panels joined together. The asymmetrical frame is unusual, and links this work to an altarpiece formed of five panels, now divided among different collections. This altarpiece showed the Virgin and Child at centre, flanked by panels at left showing saints Peter and Paul, and to the immediate right by John the Baptist. This panel, depicting John the Evangelist was originally placed at far right. Across the distance between them, the Evangelist and the Christ Child once gazed intently at each other.