Scala/Art Resource, NY

“The Crucifixion,” by Fra Angelico. Jesus and the two thieves tower above the crowd in this fresco by the 15th-century Italian painter Fra Angelico.

Mark’s careful arrangement of Jesus with “one [thief] on his right and one on his left” (Mark 15: 27) may have mimicked the emperor, who sometimes appeared in public flanked by his viceregents.