Wednesday, 4 April 2018

santa maria della pietà

Somehow we’ve overlooked this tiny chapel in the historic centre of Naples on prior visits but learning about Cappella Sansevero gives us a very good justification to make a return trip and seek it out.
Commissioned in 1590 by a grateful Giovanni Francesco di Sangro after recovering from a serious illness, the private chapel was dedicated to the Virgin Mary (La Pietà) and including an array of Masonic symbolism and became a late-Baroque to Rococo sculpture gallery in the mid-eighteenth century, showcasing incredible marble-working skills that turn the medium into delicate veils and the warp and weave of a fishing net, reputed to be transformations achieved through alchemy (of which the then head of household was an avid practitioner) rather than the talent of the sculptor. Possibly building on the legend of the supernaturally hypertrophic effort, the chapel also hosts an exhibit on early embalming techniques and features skeletons and viscera hermetically preserved.