Oct 21, 2011

TREND | The Inverted Cross

Inverted Cross/ St. Peters Cross
An inverted cross sends many mixed signals for people. Some people take offence and others take pleasure in pushing it out there as much as they can. Lately there has been a growing trend of inverted crosses being used in everything from music group logos, to "fashionable" jewelry and a large growing trend in album art and Tumblr blog feeds. The origin of an inverted cross is based in Catholicism and the story of how St. Peter did not feel worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus so his cross was inverted. In more recent times the symbol has now been taken as one of anti-christ or satanic worship, and is now becoming more of a hip cult symbol.
Within the past 10 years inverted crosses have been more connected to black metal bands such as the band Immortal:

As of more recently the upside down cross has been seen almost as "cute" for certain people, such as these "cute" inverted cross shorts.
daisy dukes for Satan?
Within the world of fine art, the idea of St. Peter and the inverted cross dates far enough back that I can reference the work of Caravaggio with his painting of the story of St. Peter and his upside down crucifixion.
Caravaggio, The Crucifixion of St. Peter, 1601
Since this growing trend of the inverted cross is newly breaking out of the world of online images and into more mainstream art outlets, it is gaining more strength as a serious art trend, such as the work of Barcelona photographer Lara Alegre, who was recently showcased in File Magazine for this photo.
Lara Alegre, I Protest, 2007
Another artist at the front of the dark image, upside down cross trend is photographer Alexander Binder. A quote from Binder's CV from JPeople Magzine in Berlin.
Alexander Binder's images suck you in the moment you lay eyes on them. They seem to have a poetic, Magical Aura and you can't help but wonder how on earth he manages to capture such incredible moments full of mystery, evil symbols, and wonderful colors at the same time.
Alexander Binder, 2011
At the moment I feel the trend is all about shock value within its use. People use it in knowing that other people get offended by it. It has also been used lately as a form of juxtaposition for images or objects within the inverted cross such as the image below, which is followed with hashtags such as #satanic, #cute, #unicorn, and of course just purely #satan. There are many more images similar to this covering the internet art community of Tumblr.
#girly, #satan
It is difficult for me to say if this trend will last. According to artist James Mustico the upside down cross is still cool enough for contemporary art, but not the triangle. It is possible that this trend of an inverted cross will stay within the blog and reblog image world of Tumblr and will slowly fall into the same category of art as photographs of cats.
i canz burn churches?
The inverted cross is still being pushed into more mainstream outlets with the help of people like Lady Gaga, and her inverted cross costume in her Alejandro music video, and breaking through hip hop group Odd Future, using an inverted cross as one of their main logos. Only time will tell if this trend will fall short and become further ridiculed for its misuse as satanic imagery or if the idea of what it stands for changes due to how many people are using it for their own meanings.

-Brock Caron


  1. I agree that some would use the inverted cross for its shock value, but I think others are trying to break the chains of old beliefs and religions. To quote Nietzsche, "God is dead."

    Jill Ewing

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  3. You should have talked about witch house music, which is growing in trend and uses almost nothing but satanic symbols (mostly upside down crosses and triangles).

    -Josh Baumgardner

  4. Josh I didn't even think of witch house at the time, although i love it. Salem is an awesome group. Thanks for bringing it up though, hopefully more people read these comments and look into it.

    -Brock Caron