The small dimensions of these panels suggest they were originally intended as a portable altar for private devotion. The emphasis on female saints – Mary Magdalen and Saint Veronica flanking the dormition of the Virgin Mary – suggests that its original owner was a woman and possibly from a religious order dedicated to the Virgin. In the central panel the Virgin is shown upon her deathbed, surrounded by the twelve apostles. According to the Golden Legend Mary did not die but merely slept for three days before her Ascension, hence the subject usually being described as her dormition. According to an old custom a lighted candle, symbolic of the Christian faith, is placed in her hands before her death. Saint Veronica holds the sudarium or cloth with which she wiped Christ's brow on his way to Calvary, and upon which his image was then imprinted. The supposed original is still preserved in St Peter's in Rome. Her turban is a sign of her eastern origin. Mary Magdalen holds her normal symbol of a jar of ointment and may here be a figure of repentance. The association of the two saints is unusual but not unknown. It had been used earlier, for example, by Rogier van der Weyden, in his triptych of The Crucifixion of 1445, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Traditionally associated with Nördlingen in north-eastern Swabia, the panels' author seems to have been familiar with prevailing artistic developments in nearby Ulm and the school of Bartolomäus Zeitblom as well as the region of the upper Rhine.