Penelope is at the loom intent on weaving that canvas with which she temporized in front of the marriage proposals of the suitors that she had promised to consider only when the canvas was finished. It is possible that the subject was chosen as a model of nuptial fidelity and sent to the future bride on the occasion of the stipulation of the marriage contract (this would also be testified by the bas-relief under the frame, in which some women go to obtain the spindles to be spun).
According to another interpretation, however, the solemn posture of the woman, the cold face and the arm that seems to hold a rod rather than a frame seem to be inspired by some model of ancient statuary. Also the bas-relief represented on the right probably shows Minerva who, in more manly clothes than the standing figure, teaches girls the art of weaving. The canvas is also purple while, as we know from the sources, the Laertes shroud woven by Penelope was white. On the other hand, if, pending further confirmation, the panel were part of the Petrucci series, the subject dealt with would be pertinent to the program of the cycle based on the myths relating to the mythical foundation of the city of Siena.