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Italia Napoli Cappella Sansevero1


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The Cappella Sansevero (also known as the Capella Sansevero de' Sangri or Pietatella) is a chapel located in the historic center of Naples. The chapel houses almost thirty works of art by some of the leading Italian artists of the 18th century.
Its origin dates to 1590 when John Francesco di Sangro, Duke of Torremaggiore, after recovering from a serious illness, had a private chapel built in what were then the gardens of the nearby Sansevero family residence, the Palazzo Sansevero. The building was converted into a family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sangro in 1613 (as inscribed on the marble plinth over the entrance to the chapel). Definitive form was given to the chapel by Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, who also included Masonic symbols in its reconstruction. Until 1888 a passageway connected the Sansevero palace with the chapel

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Italia Napoli Cappella Sansevero1

  1. 1. Piazza Dante San Domenico Piazza Gesu Duomo Santa Chiara
  2. 2. In the late 16th century, the Duke of Torremaggiore, Giovan Francesco di Sangro, after being “miraculously” cured from a serious illness, erected a chapel, called “Cappella Sansevero de’ Sangro” (also known as “Santa Maria della Pietà” or “Pietatella,” to thank the Virgin Mary. In the early years of the 17th century, Alessandro di Sangro, son of Giovan Francesco began the transformation of the original votive chapel into a true votive mausoleum, which was later completed by Prince Raimondo di Sangro. Thus, between the 1744 and the 1766, what was originally a small chapel became one of the most mysterious, extraordinary, and spectacular settings in Naples, containing statues and monuments of extraordinary beauty mixed with mysterious esoteric and masonry symbols. A noble mausoleum, a temple of initiation, which admirably reflects the multi-faceted personality of its ingenious architect, Raimondo di Sangro, seventh Prince of Sansevero
  3. 3. The High Altar  The high relief, or marble picture, of the Deposition was carved by Francesco Celebrano and is considered by critics to be the best work of Celebrano. It is a unique exemplar in Naples of a high relief on a high altar, even if the technique can be found in the city in various other contexts
  4. 4. To the sides of the steps to the High Altar are two Angels by Paolo Persico, in typically baroque drapery, carved in a marble which seems to come alive
  5. 5. Above, framed in a starburst of stucco angels, by Paolo Persico, is the painting of the Pietà, by an unknown Neapolitan artist in the late sixteenth century
  6. 6. The ceiling, known as the “Glory of Paradise” or as “Di Sangro Paradise,” was painted by Francesco Maria Russo in 1749 and is famous for the brilliant colors. Russo used of a formulation invented by Raimondo di Sangro himself, and even today, after over 250 years, they are still very intense
  7. 7. The statue representing  Saint Rosalia, her head circled by her characteristic crown of roses, by Francesco Queirolo, c. 1756
  8. 8. Rosalia was in fact the daughter of Sinibaldo of the counts dei Marsi and di Sangro. The twelfth- century Rosalia became patron saint of Palermo, having saved the city from the plague which descended in 1624. It was in these circumstances that her bones, found on Monte Pellegrino, were transported to Palermo
  9. 9. Raimondo di Sangro wanted to commemorate the most famous saint in the family
  10. 10. Saint Oderisio
  11. 11. Opposite the Chapel of Saint Rosalia is that of another important saint of the family, Oderisio, thirty-ninth abbot of the monastery of Montecassino, where he was buried in 1105. The statue of Saint Oderisio was the work of Francesco Queirolo almost certainly in the same year as the plaque, i.e. in 1756, most probably the date of the monument to Saint Rosalia. While apparently outside the general allegorical scope of the Chapel, the monuments dedicated to the two main saints of the household confirm, however, the Prince of Sansevero’s intention to celebrate his lineage
  12. 12. Saint Oderisio is portrayed kneeling on a cushion next to which lies his cardinal’s hat
  13. 13. Around the mid-sixties, Francesco Celebrano was responsible for producing a floor with marble polychrome inlay, within which there was to be a continuous line of white marble without join, prodigious invention of the genius Raimondo di Sangro. The chapel's original polychrome marble flooring was badly damaged in a major collapse involving the chapel and the neighbouring Palazzo dei di Sangro in 1889.
  14. 14. The choice of a labyrinth for flooring makes perfect sense in the allegorical language designed by the Prince for the Chapel. The labyrinth motif, belonging to ancient classical tradition rich in references to hermetic knowledge, represents the difficulty of the pathway which the initiate must follow if he is to gain knowledge. Labyrinths, found in many gothic cathedrals and more generally in the so- called “abodes of philosophy”, are the alchemists’ image of the Great Work
  15. 15. The serious collapse, that involved the Palace and the Sansevero Chapel in 1889, damaged the original flooring so much that the restorers shied away from undertaking the complicated restoration; so the Chapel was re-floored in Neapolitan cotto, and enamelled in yellow and blue, the colours of the di Sangro arms.
  16. 16. Originally built around the end of the 16th century to house the tombs of the di Sangro family, the chapel was given its current baroque fit-out by Prince Raimondo di Sangro, who, between 1749 and 1766, commissioned the finest artists to adorn the interior
  17. 17. Sound: Claudio Monteverdi - Laudate Dominum in sanctis eius (Rossana Bertini; Philippe Jaroussky) Text & pictures: Internet All  copyrights  belong to their  respective owners Presentation: Sanda Foişoreanu 2018