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Wall Crucifix Decor

Crucifixes are the most significant Catholic symbol and appear everywhere the Catholic religion is practiced. They appear on rosaries, pendants, medals and are very popular as jewelry, these days, for rock stars and celebrities. For a private home, wall crucifixes can be part of the general décor, but are more often seen in a quiet place or a place set aside for worship. Some are very large and would be best as part of a shrine indoors or even outdoors and some are small enough to be suitable in a sitting room or bedroom.


The most common wall crucifixes are made of wood, most often walnut, olive and cherry, with a metal image of Jesus on it although sometimes the image is resin, carved wood or alabaster.  The crosses can be of several types including trefoil, bent beam, Latin and San Damiano icon with a very stylized cross. This also comes as a painted icon in the Byzantine style. Some are inspired by famous paintings from the Middle Ages and some are direct copies.  There are other hand painted crucifixes, some in the Baroque style as well as Fontanini crucifixes, made in Tuscany, Italy by the same family for four generations.


The Papal crucifix was made popular by Pope John Paul II, who always carried it on a shepherd’s staff, or crosier, and continues to be used by Pope Benedict XVI. It is antique brass, very thin with excellent detail work. It has a rustic look with a bent beam cross with INRI on the top. Today it is one of the most popular wall crucifixes. It comes in several sizes and is also available with silver or gold plating.  Some people don’t like this crucifix because it is not elegant as befitting the highest Catholic in the world, but others believe it is very fitting because it is humble and reminds Catholics of the degradation of the crucifixion and, by association, the degradation of sin.


Celtic wall crucifixes are also very beautiful and decorative as well. The cross is bigger than other wall crucifixes and the image of Jesus is a little smaller.  There are St. Benedict crosses that have a St. Benedict medal above the head of Jesus. Stations of the Cross is another possible wall crucifix. It has very detailed images of the 14 important moments just before Jesus was killed. Some have the image copied from the Shroud of Turin, taking the measurements of the body and copying the places where the nails are put as well as the lance wound.  The Tau crucifix does not look like a traditional Latin cross. It has smooth round lines almost like a capitol T made out of clouds, but the figure of Jesus is the same.


Unlike wall crosses, which can be very stylized, traditional or modern, and fit in any room or décor, wall crucifixes have a more serious atmosphere. They represent death and torture, very graphically, and evoke solemn contemplation. Even though some of them are very elegant and beautiful, they are not for places where parties take place, they need their own space.

This article was published on Thursday 01 April, 2010.

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