- Museum number
- Object: The Descent into Hell (Anastasis or ‘Voskresenie Christovo’)
Icon; painted; Christ stands on the broken gates of hell and turns to the left to raise the kneeling figure of Adam with his right hand; he holds a closed scroll in his left. Christ is enclosed by a round dark green mandorla with gold rays. Behind Christ is the kneeling figure of Eve, draped in a red mantle, and behind her, Abel, dressed in green. On either side of Christ, against a background of rocky mountains, are two groups of kings and prophets including the prophets Daniel and John the Baptist, and, at left, kings David and Solomon.
Inscription: in Greek, in Christ's halo: O ON (He Who Is).
Egg tempera, gesso on wood.
- Production date
Length: 318 millimetres
Width: 262 millimetres
Depth: 21 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The iconography of this scene, inspired by the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (2nd–3rd century), derives from a 15th-century Byzantine tradition with Adam and Eve beside Christ. In Orthodox art the depiction of the Descent into Hell usually replaces a scene of the Resurrection of Christ and was included in the Twelve Great Feasts tier of a church iconostasis. The Museum’s icon follows the typical iconographic formula of Russian icons of the 16th and 17th centuries.
For other icons with the Anastasis, see cat. nos 9, 30, 32, and 46.
Cormack 2007, 127, no. 59
- Not on display
- Made from a single panel with ‘kovcheg’; two inserted battens on the reverse; a visible upper layer of the painting is executed in the style of the 15th century on an old cracked fragment of gesso, possibly with the remains of an earlier paint layer (so-called ‘vrezok’). The fragment was inserted into a new panel and ground down. This type of fake is commonly found in the antiquarian market.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See 1998,0605.1 Most of the items catalogued under 1998,0605 were acquired by Sir Frank Roberts’ wife, Cella.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: IC 59 (Icon Collection number)