Mantegna's Descent into Limbo, from the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection September 8, 2000
to July 8, 2002
Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506) painted this small panel during the height of the Italian Renaissance, using detailed, emotion-filled images to depict the moment when Christ appears to the souls in Limbo. The original work was created for Marchese Lodovico Gonzaga in June of 1468. Because it was so highly regarded, several other versions were made, including this smaller one, which was probably done for Ferdinando Carlo, the last Duke of Mantua, around 1470–75. Lent through the generosity of the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection, it was on view in the Enamels Room.