Descent into Limbo

Descent into Limbo

c. 1490-1500

Giovanni Antonio da Brescia

(Italian)

after Andrea Mantegna

(Italian, 1431-1506)

Engraving

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

Location

Description

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
Collection: 
PR - Engraving
Department: 
Prints
Type of artwork: 
Print
Medium: 
Engraving
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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