The background of Madonna of the Book opens out into a landscape, where the open window allows the observer a glimpse of the view outside. These landscapes point to the influence exerted upon Botticelli by contemporary Netherlands' artists such as Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hubert van der Goes. Trading relations between Italy and the Netherlands had been growing more intensive since the 15th century, resulting in many Florentine merchants and bankers traveling northwards. Among the mementos which these people brought back were paintings revealing other artistic conceptions and ideals. Botticelli particularly admired the detailed execution of individual pictorial motifs, the realistic fashioning of the figures in the pictures, and the atmospheric effect of the landscapes as rendered in the art of their colleagues norht of the Alps.