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Exhibitions and records of works of art

Prince Albert recognised the importance of photography to record and document notable exhibitions and works of art


Christ in the Descent into Limbo


Albumen print | 31.9 x 20.5 cm (image) | RCIN 2864172

A photograph of a drawing by Raphael (c.1513) depicting a study for Christ in the Descent into Limbo now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille (inv. no. 439). Annotated on the verso.

This is one of the studies for the roundels in the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria della Pace, Rome. Raphael was commissioned, probably early in 1511, by the banker Agostino Chigi to decorate his chapel in Santa Maria della Pace. The initial plan of decoration for the chapel included frescoes, two bronze roundels and an altarpiece; however, whilst Raphael executed some designs for the altarpiece, which was to depict the resurrection, it was never executed, and the bronze roundels, whilst cast, appear to never have been installed. The frescoes comprise two registers, with four prophets on the top  (flanking a window) and four sybils below. According to Vasari, portions of the frescoes were painted by Timoteo Viti.

A copy of this photograph (RCIN 854305) can be found in the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection, portfolio 47 (970607)

  • Creator(s)

    After Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520) (draughtsman)

    Attributed to Robert Jefferson Bingham (1825-70) (photographer)


    Jesus Christ
  • 31.9 x 20.5 cm (image)

  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Subject(s)
    • Religion & Theology
      • Religions and faiths
        • Christianity
          • Life of Christ
            • Passion of Christ
              • Christ in Limbo
    Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Brejon de Lavergnée 1997 : Brejon de Lavergnée, B, 1997. Catalogue des dessins Italiens. Collections du Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Paris
    pp.192-193, no. 546

    Joannides 1983 : Joannides, P., 1983. The Drawings of Raphael, with a complete catalogue, Oxford
    p.211, no. 314