The artist was living in Basel at this point, prior to his fruitful move across to the UK. Whilst not at his pinnacle yet, Holbein had already started to build a solid reputation as a portrait painter and was starting to gain traction within the upper levels of European society, slowly but surely. These connections would become more and more significant within his career over time.
The content of this composition is somewhat peculiar - the donor himself sits in the bottom left of the painting, all completely normal at that point, but he is then joined by his current and previous wives plus his daughter. They kneel towards the Madonna and a young infant Jesus in this complex piece. There are also a number of sculptured details in the background which complete this combination of present day with religious scripture.