According to the artist, this image was 'the nearest I ever came to representational distortion of the human figure.' Clarke rarely depicted the Crucifixion. He was more interested in the idea of the Cross as a symbol, than in depicting the physical fact of the Crucifixion. The inspiration for this image was a black and white reproduction of the Isenheim Crucifixion at Colmar in Alsace, painted by Matthias Grünewald and completed in 1515. Clarke noted the use by Grünewald of a twisted, very distorted image to convey the full horror of the subject.