The Presentation at the Termple is a complex composition, with numerous characters placed on different levels. In the centre, the young Mary, holding a book, is ascending the Temple's staircase towards the priest, but is looking in the viewer's direction. Her awkward posture is perhaps intended to suggest her young shyness, but the figure appears rather awkward.
The role and meaning of the other figures who crowd the classical architectures of the scene are still partly unclear. The female figures on the right, portrayed with notable attention to detail, are probably portraits of real contemporary women. Next to them are St. Anne and Joachim, distinguishable by aureolas, who point at their daughter Mary. Two young women, painted by workshop collaborators, are rushing out from the Temple.
The two small figures in the centre foreground have not been identified. They could be children, but have adult features. It has been suggested that, being observed from below, they acquire a more youthful appearance, so their unusual rendering could be a technical trick by Ghirlandaio. The symbolic role of the nude man sitting on the steps, on the right, is unknown. Next to him are two old men.