Shallowford Presbyterian Church (Atlanta) wanted a meditational "Walk with Jesus" on display the week before Easter. We created a station for the crucifixion.
Death by Asphyxiation and Pain
When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” … he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross… John 19:9, 17-18
Much of church art about the crucifixion has been sanitized till it has become an “acceptable” symbol to a squeamish public.
Crucifixion was the most painful way the Romans found to torture someone to death. It was reserved for the most vile criminals and those Rome felt were opposing its rule. The crucified died of asphyxiation or heart attack. The painful spikes through the hands or wrists kept the arms outstretched making it difficult to breath. To breath and relieve the pain, the crucified tried to stretch out by standing up. However, since the ankles were spiked to the cross standing up would increase the pain in the legs. To relieve that pain, they had to hang by the hands.
It could take days to die.