Christ is suspended on the cross, between the two brigands, dressed in a long sleeveless tunic. The Mother of God is identified as Saint Mary, a name that retains a tradition before the 431 Council of Ephesus. The icon also includes the scene of the Roman soldiers dividing the garments of Christ.
The icon is the earliest known depiction of Christ lying dead on the cross, and the first known image of Christ wearing a crown of thorns. It focuses on the Passion and the reconciliatory nature of the blood spilt on the cross. Both the iconography and the technique suggest that the icon originates from the Holy Land.