An unknown artist captured Christ as he floats above earth, holding a cross in one hand, while he blesses the naked crowd of men and women who raise their arms in supplication below. Using pen and brown ink, the artist deftly modeled the figures and fabrics draped around Christ's shoulders. While the outlines of the bodies have been drawn with steady contours, he used small flicks and curls to create such details as eyes, dimpled flesh, and bulging muscles. Finally he applied a monochrome application of brown wash to create further shadows and texture.

Scholars believe this drawing was made as a design for the wing of an altarpiece, as the curved frame along the upper left side is similar to other altarpieces.


  • Title: Christ in Limbo
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1520–1540
  • Physical Dimensions: 16.7 × 12.2 cm (6 9/16 × 4 13/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink and brown wash
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 98.GA.11
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Katrin Bellinger, Kunsthandel
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown maker, Flemish Master
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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