The Harrowing of Hell

Altarpiece of Caparroso, Cathedral of St. Mary, Pamplona, Spain

Unlike most Harrowing of Hell images, the "hell mouth" is made to look more like a cavern or cave. Christ takes Adam's wrist with his left hand while Eve and the other Old Testament notables wait quietly and the demons protest noisily.

There appear to be two women in the group besides Eve, one behind her right shoulder and the other at her left. No women are mentioned in the Gospel of Nicodemus but it does refer to the group as "patriarchs and prophets and martyrs and forefathers," so the woman behind Eve could represent the women on the list of ancestors in Matthew 1. The other woman, the only one of the group who seems to be frowning, could possibly represent the human denizens of Hades who are not to be redeemed, comparable to the dishonest alewife in the Chester play of the Harrowing (Deimling, II, 329 (lines 261-308).

In his right hand Christ holds the the tall, pennoned standard associated with Resurrection images. Another borrowing from those images is his bare chest: in Harrowing images he usually wears full, flowing garments.

More of the Harrowing of Hell
Also see the Resurrection

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