Detail of Nicodemus
© J. Muñiz   CC-BY-NC-ND


Thanks to his excellent use of the precarious equilibrium of some of the figures, the anonymous craftsman who made this altarpiece produced a talented and agile composition that leads our eyes in a zigzag from the figure of Nicodemus located at the top of a ladder to the right, then in a delicate curve to take in the inert body of Christ and finally finishes at the group of figures made up of Mary Magdalene and the Swooning of Mary in a similar way to the visual technique observed in the Zumaia relief.

Expressions are contained (possibly partly because of the effect of the polychrome decoration), however they do transmit the full gravity of the episode effectively. Eyelids are half closed, resulting in rather melancholy gazes, long, fine noses and slightly downturned mouths. Hair and beards are somewhat simply defined. The long curly hair of Saint Joseph, however, is executed in slightly more detail. Much more carefully executed are well-articulated hands with long, thin fingers expressing emotions.

There are several flowing pleats and folds in the garments of the figures in Mary's group which serve to increase its dramatic impact.