Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Welcome to Hell

Inspired by this question on AskMe about Hell in art, I started perusing google and google scholar, looking to see if there was an art theory term for the iconography of Hell. Infernography?

I haven't found anything conclusive yet, no secret codeword to unlock the libraries of the internet, but I have found a bunch of neat art (too much for an easy reply).

The Harrowing of Hell refers to Christ's descent into Hell, an apocryphal bit of the Apostles' Creed that's inferred from Christ's resurrection, also known as the Anastasis. I stumbled onto the phrase by finding this PDF about the Harrowing of Hell relief at Bristol Cathedral.

The Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography (PDF) gives a decent bit of info on the genre, though with fewer images than I'd prefer.

I knew the term for the mythic descent into the underworld, Katabasis, and so searching for that and for famous katabasi (a cod-Greek word I just made up), yielded both Lazurus and Castor and Pollux. (As a side note, I'd like to explore Nekyia a bit in my work).

More as I find 'em.

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