Christ’s Descent into Hell or Descent into Limbo
The legend can be found in the
Apocryphal text, the Gospel of Nicodemus. After his
Jesus descended into Hell and led the just, the patriarchs, the prophets
of the Old Testament and Adam and Eve, into the light. Later a clarity
was introduced that all of them were not in Hell, but in the bordering
region, Limbo (from the Latin word limbus, a hem); it was taught
that because they lived and died before the Christ's self-sacrifice for
peoples redemption, they were put in the lower place until such time when
Jesus could liberate them.
The story was later retold in
the Golden Legend.
See: Agnolo Bronzino. Christ
Duccio di Buoninsegna. Maestà:
Fra Angelico. Christ