Past Exhibition: Mantegna's Descent into Limbo

painting depicting women and men standing near cave opening draped in cloths as one man descends into the dark opening.
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.