Bed and Breakfast Napoli | I Visconti | B&B Napoli centro

Bed and Breakfast Napoli | I Visconti | B&B Napoli centro

Cappella San Severo – Napoli

The San Severo Chapel in Naples was built in 1590 to contain the funerary monuments of the de’ Sangro family, princes of Sansevero.

The most significant decorative phase was that desired by Raimondo de’ Sangro, a brilliant and bizarre character, man of letters, inventor and scientist, linked to the most sophisticated culture of the mid-eighteenth century. Based on his unitary project, the chapel today presents itself, without modifications, as Prince Raimondo had conceived it: a temple of sculpture, exaltation of the Sangro nobles through allegorical sepulchral monuments, symbol of the virtues of the deceased.

The only pictorial element is the vault frescoed in 1749 by Francesco Maria Russo with the Glory of Paradise, while the absolute protagonists of the environment are the sculptural reliefs placed even on the main altar, a place usually occupied by a painting. To create the funerary monuments, rich in symbolism and allegory, Raimondo commissioned the work to Antonio Corradini (1668-1752), a Venetian sculptor established throughout Europe; these. however, upon death, he only managed to create the tomb of the client’s mother depicting the virtue of Modesty.

The remaining monuments are the work of the Genoese Francesco Queirolo (1704-1762), and the Neapolitans Francesco Celebrano (1729-1814) and Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720-1793), who continued the work respecting the idea of the initial project.


The most famous work in the chapel represents Christ taken down from the Cross wrapped in a shroud. Giuseppe Sanmartino, one of the major Neapolitan artists of the full eighteenth century and skilled crib modeler, gives life to a sculpture of great naturalistic depth.

In reality the sculpture was placed in an underground room of the chapel: placed in dim light, the natural suggestion of the shroud covering the body of Christ must have been even stronger. The Christ, lying on a mattress and three soft pillows, is covered with a thin veil which highlights all his anatomical details; next to the corpse, the crown of thorns, pincers and a nail complete the iconography. The sublime and classic idea of the veil covering a naked body is treated by Sanmartino with extreme realism obtained from the body of Christ, suffering and translucent, with the head abandoned, from the details of the thin hands tortured by the nails and, above all, from the Extremely real effect of the shroud sticking to the skin.

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