The icon presents a comprehensive version of the subject which became widespread from the 14th century.
The center of the composition features a bed with dormant Maria (the Dormition in contrast to the death emphasized the divinity of the Mother of God).
It is surrounded with groups of the apostles, church fathers, women, and two deacons. To the left two biblical prophets, David and Solomon, are standing. All of them are imbued with the feeling of grief and mourning.
In the center, behind the bed, there is the figure of Christ in Glory who holds the soul of the Virgin in His hands. Behind the wall there is the city of Jerusalem.
The upper section of the icon illustrates the event of the miraculous transference of the apostles by angels to Jerusalem: at the moment of Maria's dormition they happened to preach in different parts of the world.
They are placed in twelve medallions on narrow cloudlets, each of them having a head with on open bill resembling either a bird or a fish.
Scholars maintain that such a metaphor follows an antique tradition according to which various creatures found their reflection in various outlines of clouds.
In religious art birds were symbols of angels while in Ukrainian folklore a swallow used to herald the coming of the Lord.
In the upper center of the icon master Olexiy represented the Mother of God enthroned; above, angels set in the medallion open to her the Heavenly Gates.
A scene in the foreground follows apocryphal narrations about a Jewish priest Auphonius who had an evil intention to desecrate Maria's body. But the archangel Michael cut off his hands which grew fast to the Virgin's bed.