Resurrection – the Descent into Hell

Iconography:  Selected holidays, Resurrection

Date: XVI century. Second half of the 16th c.

Origin: From the church of Resurrection in Suzdal (?).

Material: Wood, canvas, levkas, tempera

Dimensions:  height 111,5 cm, width 81 cm

The centerpiece depicts the Resurrection – the Descent into Hell in the most detailed iconographic version of this subject with some additional motives included. The centre of the icon represents Christ in Majesty, staying on the broken gates of hell and holding the hand of Adam rising from his grave followed by the procession of righteous people in white clothes. To the left of Christ, above, is another procession consisting of the prophets and the forefathers depicted according to the tradition (some prophets hold the symbols of their prophecies). This procession is headed by John the Baptist, David and Solomon. Another depiction of John the Baptist and David can be seen to the right of Christ close to the gates of heaven with David holding an unfolded scroll in his hands. The second depiction of Solomon also holding a scroll can be seen in the hell mouth, close to the group of righteous people in white clothes. The lower right corner of the centerpiece shows Christ risen from the tomb with the angels at the gates of hell (here are also the sleeping warriors). Between this scene and the symbol of hell are depicted the angels beating the numerous demons. In the upper part of the composition is paradise at the gates of which are represented the seraph and the prudent robber talking to Elijah and Enoch (to the left) and the righteous people entering paradise (to the right). The story of the prudent robber is introduced by the paraphrase of his evangelic conversation with Jesus Christ – depiction of Christ giving the cross to the robber.

Border scenes:

1. The Holy Trinity

2. The Annunciation

3. Nativity of Christ

4. Presentation of Our Lord

5. Mid-Pentecost

6. Baptism of Our Lord

7. Raising of Lazarus

8. Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem

9. Transfiguration of Our Lord

10. The Washing of the Feet

11. The Crucifixion

12. The Appearance of the Angel to the Myrrh-bearing Women

13. Reassurance of St. Thomas

14. The Ascension of Our Lord

15. The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles

16. The Dormition of the Holy Virgin

Inv. № В-6300/2755 И-1371 

© The Vladimir-Suzdal History, Architecture and Art Museum and Reserve

Bibliography: Иконы Владимира и Суздаля. М., 2006. № 47. С. 246-249. (Описание Л.В. Нерсесяна)

  • General view