Jun 10, 2019
Dec 6, 2007
Jun 10, 2019

Descent into Limbo

Descent into Limbo

c. 1490–1500

Giovanni Antonio da Brescia


after Andrea Mantegna

(Italian, 1431–1506)


Sheet: 41.2 x 28.2 cm (16 1/4 x 11 1/8 in.); Mat Size: 56 x 40.7 cm (22 1/16 x 16 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1926.261

Catalogue raisonné: Hind V(II).19.9a



This subject, also known as the Harrowing of Hell,
recounts Christ’s descent into limbo, the first circle

of hell, to liberate the souls of Old Testament saints. The church taught that those who lived and died

in an era without the Christian sacraments were
relegated to a lower place until Christ could come

redeem them. Here Christ, holding the banner of the Resurrection, enters through a doorway. Broken

from its hinges, the door has fallen to the ground
over which Christ triumphantly walks. A group of

figures await their redemption, including Adam
and Eve to the right. Above, a group of demons

emerge from the cavern, sounding trumpets to
announce Christ’s arrival.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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