Triptychs (hinged three-paneled works) such as this were often placed on or behind the altars of medieval churches. The central panel of this triptych shows people mourning the death of Jesus. The city in the background is Bruges, where the artist worked. Saint John the Baptist and Saint Catherine of Alexandria are pictured on the side panels. On the outside of the folding wings, the artist presents the story of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear a divine son.