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We read in Jn 19:30 (KJKV):

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Lealani Acosta and her colleagues scoured the archives of the world’s art museums to inspect 550 images of Christ on the cross, and discovered that over 90 per cent portrayed Jesus with his head turned to the right, his left cheek towards the viewer (Courtesy: Weird.com)

There are a number of theories explaining why Jesus may have bowed his head towards his right at the moment of death. One for instance, postulates that the Lord was acknowledging the “chosen ones” on his right (Matthew 25: 33-34). Another says that artists who depicted Jesus on the cross simply drew the best appealing look. Yet another states that the depiction had something to do with neuro-science and human receptivity to suggestion.

My question therefore is: Is there a deeper meaning for the depiction of Jesus' head tilted towards his right on the Crucifix? Inputs from any denomination are welcome.

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  • "Turning the other cheek"? Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 8:19

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Is there a deeper meaning for the depiction of Jesus' head tilted towards his right on the Crucifix?

Artists almost universally appear to have agreed to place the soldier’s wound on Christ’s right side and Christ’s head leaning to the right.

Only St. John mentions Jesus’ head in his Gospel account, “bowing his head, he gave up his spirit” (Jn 19:30). Because we cannot determine the actual position of Jesus’ head when he died, artists have exercised some freedom when representing this aspect of the Crucified Christ.

That artists represent Christ’s head leaning to the right may reflect no more than a sensibility that the right is the more noble side. Or the artist may simply wish Christ’s head to echo the position of his wound. - Christ’s Head On the Cross

One could make the argument that Jesus was showing us to turn the other cheek. But we must remember that these are artistic renderings of the Crucifixion of Jesus, by individuals who have never witnessed a crucifixion.

Modern research now has shown that a crucified individual actually dies with his head hung straight down, neither tilted to the right nor to the left.

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Shroud of Turin Villandre Crucifix

This has been borne out by Dr. Pierre Barbet in his book, A Doctor at Calvary. It is not for the faint hearted. The Shroud of Turin also bares this out.

Some churches, especially larger Medieval Latin Rite churches were architecturally designed in the form of a cross and some even had the sanctuary area tilted to the right in honour of Christ’s Crucifixion.

enter image description here

The Abbey of Fontgombault is just one example. Having personally been in this church abbey, it is quite obvious., but photos on the net do not do justice to this architectural feature.

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