I have no religious beliefs but I am very familiar with the rituals of Catholicism and fascinated with the visual expression of these rituals and biblical references.
Even though crucifixions were common place in Roman occupied Palestine, this scene of Jesus supporters alongside his killers might have been different to the usual scenes accompanying crucifixions. There is so much activity, women and men weeping, the crucifiers busy trying to tie down the ropes of the cross, Roman soldiers silently overseeing the execution, both inside the scene yet outside sitting above the crowds. One of the two thieves is shown lying down on the cross prior to being nailed and raised to stand next to Jesus.
How different is this public execution, which is seen as barbaric, to executions today which take place in secret rooms behind glass panels where families seeking vengeance sit and watch alongside those who have given themselves the right and power to kill in the name of justice? Is something more barbaric if it is done behind closed doors?