Both donors are shown with their name saints – Saint Sigismund and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The Held family had been prominent merchants in Nüremburg since the fourteenth century and had served as magistrates and upon the City Council.
The design of the present panel was clearly inspired by the graphic work of Martin Schongauer (1448–91). The figure of the Magdalene, for example, derives from the latter’s engraving Noli me tangere of circa 1480–90. Other elements of the design, such as the billowing loincloth of Christ, the Virgin with her hands crossed at her breast, Saint John holding a book, and even the skull and bones at the foot of the cross are modelled on Schongauer’s engraving of The Crucifixion of around 1475. The retardataire nature of its design – the facture of this panel seems consistent throughout and its composition was more likely conceived at the express wish of the patron.