The work displays many of the defining aspects of Christian art that sought to highlight the major characters of the Christian faith and tell their story in a time when illiteracy was high.
The work symbolises the early linear perfection of this period in which both the artist seeks to perpetuate the beauty of not only Mary the mother of Jesus but also reflects the beauty of the new age that was dawning upon Europe as a whole. Within the painting, there are a number of key attributes which define the symbolism of the painting.
One of the most direct symbols in this regard is the way that the Madonna is holding the child. The hands symbolise a firmness and confidence but also a love of the child. The secondary element of this is that it shows the Madonna looking down and can be interpreted as having a love of humanity as a whole, considering them all to be her children.
Another clear aspect of this painting can be found in the structure of the pillars. They symbolise key elements of the Renaissance period in that they show the early Greco-Roman architectural design, showing the desire of many of this period to recover the lost learning of this age. Within the religious context, it shows the solid foundations of the Christian faith and the strong pillars of which it is built upon.
The Madonna would go on to become a defining basis of Botticelli's later work which would go on to include such work as: Madonna and Child with an Angel (1470), Madonna of the Sea (1477) and Madonna of the Book (1483).
For those wishing to see the painting today, the work can be seen at the Florence Galleria degli located in Uffizi, Florence.