France: Haute Maurienne - paulsmit
'Jesus' descent to the dead.’

Not only do the frescoes in the Chapelle Saint Sébastien in Lanslevillard reach an astonishing high artistic level, the colours have kept their original saturation as well. This most important work of art in the Haute Maurienne has been painted at the end of the 15th century by artists from Piemonte (now in Italy but then in the same country: Savoy). Its location may seem unexpected: a small village deep in the Alps. But the chapel is situated right at the start of the pass road over the Col du Mont Cenis, in those days one of the main connections between France and Italy.

The fresco shows what is often called the Harrowing of Hell or the Descent into Limbo. After being entombed and before resurrection Jesus descents to the dead and releases Hell's captives, particularly Adam and Eve (holding hands) and the righteous people of Old Testament times. Photo Paul Smit.