CAPPELLA SANSEVERO, Veiled Christ

Audio File length: 2.36
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

Raimondo of Sangro wanted two statues of truly spectacular virtuosity for his parents' tombs at the back of the chapel. He sought artists all over Italy who could accomplish what he had in mind.

To the left you can see his mother's grave, who died when the prince was just an infant. She is symbolized by the statue of Modesty, which depicts a woman wrapped in a subtle, semi-transparent veil: its Venetian creator Francesco Corradini, a veil-carving specialist, made his absolute masterpiece here.

The Prince's father, Antonio, led a wild life after the death of his young wife, and later repented it. For this reason, his grave has the statue of a man breaking free from a net, which symbolizes his father waking up and liberating himself from his sins. The spectacular statue is titled Disillusion and is the work of the Genoese sculptor Francesco Queirolo.

But the most famous statue of the chapel is the Veiled Christ, which you can see in the center. The Prince of Sangro first asked the same creator of the Modesty sculpture, but the Venetian sculptor was over eighty years old and could no longer accomplish such a demanding project. So the assignment passed to the young Neapolitan Giuseppe Sammartino, who had worked at all the main construction sites of eighteenth-century Naples, expressing an extraordinary inventive talent in the most diverse genres, from the largest statues to the tiny ones in nativity scenes.

The sculpture represents Christ nailed to the Cross and covered by a transparent funeral veil. With incredible virtuosity, Sammartino highlighted Christ's anatomy under the folds of the veil, then added the crown of thorns, pins, and nails. It was even thought that the statue was made with a type of "petrified" fabric thanks to the Prince's chemical compounds, but analyses have confirmed that the Veiled Christ is indeed just a marble sculpture, a virtuous wonder without any "tricks". And lastly, among all these elaborate statues, you'll be amazed at the simplicity of Prince Raimondo's tomb located in the passage leading to the sacristy.

 

FUN FACT: in the crypt decorated with a labyrinthine floor, there are two niches with two macabre "anatomical machines": a man and a woman cut off and dissected to highlight their circulatory systems.

It's a patiently-made anatomical reconstruction of iron wire, wax, and real human remains!

And with this we have finished our tour of the Sansevero Chapel of Naples. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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