There truly is a face of a skull in the side of the hill just as I painted it. When on a research trip to the Holy Land I visited a place believed to be where Christ was crucified. It was called Golgotha or Calvary, which when translated means “place of the skull.” There is no geological formation around Jerusalem which resembles this spot. It is just North of the city a short distance from the Damascus Gate. Currently there is an Arab bus station beneath the hill. On the opposite side of the hill is the Garden Tomb.
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This painting is very different from other Crucifixion scenes I have seen. Traditionally it would be painted on top of a hill and the cross would be straight and well crafted. I endeavored in every way to paint this scene as archeologically accurate as possible. The Savior’s body has just been pulled down from the cross and is being wrapped while the Roman guards gather together on the right side. The crosses are made from olive trees which would have been the common wood used for crucifixion. This image is both haunting and provocative to me as I consider the reality of my Lord’s final hours in mortality.
Here is a picture of how it appears today from a different angle.