The Descent into Limbo

Circle of Andrea Mantegna Italian

Not on view

In this innovative composition, Christ is portrayed from behind as he embarks upon his descent into Limbo, the zone before the entrance to Hell, where he traveled after his death and before his Resurrection. The story is not found in the New Testament but was part of early Church teachings and by the fifteenth century was an accepted Christian belief. This work is closely related to a group of drawings, engravings, and paintings of a similar composition attributed to Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, and their circle. This sheet is likely a copy after a lost drawing by one of these masters. Mantegna’s depictions of this subject inspired versions by Bellini, exemplifying the exchanges between the artists.

The Descent into Limbo, Circle of Andrea Mantegna (Italian, Isola di Carturo 1430/31–1506 Mantua), Pen and brown ink, brown wash

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