The Virgin is sitting on a richly decorated throne with the baby Jesus. The child has his arms around his mother’s neck and is cuddling her. The homely intimacy is combined with symbols of Christianity like the apple and grapes in the foreground. The apple symbolises the fall of man, and the bunch of grapes stands for Christ’s redemption.
Quinten Massys placed his Madonna on an ornate Renaissance throne with marble columns. It was a favourite composition - he painted several versions of it.