The Madonna of the Steps oil on canvas 38 x 52cm (14 15/16 x 20 1/2in). unframed
The present composition is after Poussin's original, of which two versions exist: in the National Gallery, Washington D.C.; and in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Of the two paintings the present composition is closer to the Cleveland picture in the treatment of the clouds and since the figure of Saint John is completely nude (in the Washington version a small corner of loincloth conceals his nudity). Both paintings have been the subject of a considerable degree of controversy regarding their comparative status and authenticity. While most recent opinions appear to accept that both paintings are authentic, a definitive appraisal of the stylistic differences and artistic merits of the two paintings remains open to debate (see: A. Tzeutschler Lurie, 'Poussin's "Holy Family on the steps" in The Cleveland Museum of Art: new evidence from radiography', in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXIV, no. 956, November, 1982, pp. 664-671).
An attribution to Jacques Stella has also been suggested.