This large, finely carved relief is composed of two limestone blocks. The carving, with its hard-edged lines, elegantly detailed hair, feline eyes, and flowing drapery, is of very high quality and refinement. The Crucifixion dominates the composition; it is flanked on either side by four arches. Kneeling donors and their patron saints fill the two arches at the ends, while the intermediate arches are filled with scenes from the Passion. The scenes read from left to right: a donor with John the Baptist, the Kiss of Judas, the Flagellation, Christ Carrying the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Deposition, the Three Marys at the Tomb, a donor with Saint Catherine. Above these scenes is a row of trompe l’oeil windows with prophets holding scrolls (which may originally have had painted inscriptions) looking out.
The form of the altar is modeled on the retable at Bessey-lès-Cîteaux carved by Claus de Werve in the late fourteenth century. Its design is closer still to that in the chapel of Saint Barbara in Vignory (Haute-Marne). Even the donors — identified by their coats of arms — are the same Guillaume de Bouvenot and his spouse Gudelette.
Source: Deborah Kahn, "Retable: Scenes of the Passion," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong, et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 28.