«I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way into eternal sorrow.
Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence,
Primordial love and ultimate intellect.
Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time i stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here»
Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto III
Translation by John Ciardi, 1954
Christ’s Descent into Hell by unknown artist, Style of Hieronymus Bosch, 1550; painting, oil on wood; 21 x 46 in – 53.3 x 116.8 cm; on view at The MET, Fifth Avenue, Gallery 625, New York.
«Bosch’s fiery hell scenes were enormously popular throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. A vast, desolate landscape with a burning city at the right and the river Styx at the left is the setting for this nightmarish vision, in which Christ breaks down the gates of hell to rescue the souls of the just. Gesturing in supplication towards him, Adam and Eve kneel on top of a ruinous tower. Behind them, Old Testament figures climb the winding stairs from the depths of hell, among them Abraham and Isaac with the sacrificial ram, and Noah with a model of the ark». From THE MET website.