Georgios Klontzas (Zorzi Cloza dito Cristianopullo), son of Andreas, grew up in a bourgeois family in Candia (Heraklion). Married twice, he had four sons, all of which became painters and probably continued his style of painting. This may explain the big number of unsigned works that have come down to us – only fourteen bear his signature. He was one of the most productive painters of his times, incorporating the Byzantine tradition as well as characteristics of Italian mannerism. Klontzas stands out for his distinctive personal style that produced original compositions. He seems to have been renowned as an artist early in his life, as in December 1566 he was assigned -along with father John de Frossega- the evaluation of a painting of Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco). His artistic work consists of icons and manuscripts; he was also a scholar and a scribe.
On the central panel of the inner face of the triptych two scenes are depicted in two zones: Christ seated on a throne and flanked symmetrically by the symbols of the four Evangelists (the winged lion, the winged ox, the angel and the eagle) in the upper zone; the Entry into Jerusalem (or the “palm-bearer”) and the Transfiguration in the lower zone. The left wing has a representation of the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the Baptism of Christ in three successive zones. On the right wing the Crucifixion, the Descent into Hell, the Ascension, The Pentecost and the Dormition of the Virgin have been painted, following the same arrangement in registers. All these scenes compose a full Dodekaorton. Here Klontzas appears faithful to the traditional Cretan style of the period.
On the reverse of the right wing four miniatures illustrate the four Gospel passages that are read on each of the four Sundays that follow Easter. The left panel contains the Last Judgment, poorly preserved, and the central panel depicts the Discovery of the Holy Cross. This scene is composed in three levels: the first with the excavation and recovery of the Cross; the second with St Helen presiding over the gathering of the crowd; the third with the Elevation of the Cross. Moreover, the dedicatory inscription is written on the bottom left of this panel. Klontzas renders these scenes inventively and in a mannerist style, using detailed compositions and graceful, slender figures.
The depiction of the Discovery of the Holy Cross may be connected with the use of the triptych as a gift towards the Cretan abbot Nikephoros Chartofylax, a prominent figure at the monastery during that period. The abbot had founded the chapel of the Holy Cross in the monastery in 1598 according to tradition which, if verified, could lead to the conclusion that the triptych could have been destined for this chapel.