The Virgin's marriage to Saint Joseph is not described in the Gospels but appears in the New Testament Apocrypha and the 13th-century book, the 'Golden Legend'. These sources tell how Joseph was chosen to marry the Virgin because of a miraculous sign - the flowering of his rod. Here he holds his rod surmounted by a dove (the symbol of the Holy Ghost) while placing a ring on the Virgin's hand. The Virgin's mother, Saint Anne, stands on the right and on the left two disappointed suitors break their rods.
This painting on panel, and one in the Vatican Museum of the 'Birth of the Virgin', are almost certainly from the same predella, (the lower section of an altarpiece). They may belong to an altarpiece of the 'Virgin and Child with Saints Andrew and Onophrius' in the Pinacoteca, Siena.