The painting is also known as the 'Madonna of the Tower' due to the building visible in the left background, and the 'Mackintosh Madonna' after its last owners.
The work is datable to the early years of Raphael's Roman period. It is so damaged that it gives little idea of Raphael's original painting. The original cartoon for this painting (London, British Museum) may have been used later by Domenico Alfani (1479-80 - after 1553) as the basis for a picture dated 1518 (Perugia, Galleria Nazionale). Raphael is known to have supplied Alfani with drawings on other occasions.