Crucifix with Souls in Purgatory

Church of San Fedele, Como, Italy

At the foot of the cross are a sculpted hill and skull to represent Golgotha, the "place of the skull" where Jesus was crucified. The diorama below pictures the fiery torments of Hades, from which some are being rescued by angels, others are praying for rescue, and still others are simply suffering. There was a belief that after dying on the cross Christ visited not only the prophets and patriarchs in Hades but the souls in Purgatory. See below for a detail photograph of the diorama. You can read more about this belief and its expressions in art at this page.

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.