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Watercolor: The Harrowing of Hell (Frieze from Lincoln Cathedral), 10" x 9.5"


My monocolor watercolor rendition of one panel of a medieval Romanesque frieze (c. 1140 AD) on the West Front of Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England. It depicts Christ with John the Baptist, pulling people out of jaws of Hell. Sometimes this scene is called "The Harrowing of Hell." (To "harrow" means "to pillage or plunder.") Below the feet of Christ and John is Satan, bound hand and foot.

The scene recalls Jesus' saying, "No one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house." (Mark 3:27, NIV).

In Christian theology, the Harrowing of Hell is the triumphant descent of Christ into Hell (or Hades) between the time of his Crucifixion and his Resurrection when he brought salvation to all of the righteous who had died since the beginning of the world, alluded to in 1 Peter 4:6; Ephesians 4:9; and the Apostles Creed.

The present Lincoln Cathedral was built 1140-1200 AD. The original Ancaster limestone frieze was so damaged by the weather of centuries that it was removed in the mid-1990s and reworked by stone sculptor John Roberts in harder, less porous Lincoln limestone, unveiled in 2001. The original frieze was placed for viewing in the Morning Chapel.

Monocolor, made up of sedimentary pigments: ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, viridian, and burnt umber. 180925. Watercolor, 9.5" x 10".

Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors
P.O. Box 565, Loomis, California 95650
phone (916) 652-4659
All art works are copyright by Ralph F. Wilson. All rights reserved.