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Cappella Sansevero by  Gazettr

The funerary chapel of the Di Sangro family was built in 1590, but took on its current appearance in 1749-66, thanks to the eccentric prince of Sansevero, Raimondo di Sangro, who hired the leading sculptors of the day to decorate it. The high altar is carved in accordance with the then-fashionable 'picture hewn out of stone' criterion; the statues have titles like Domination of Self-will, The Pleasures of Marriage and Shyness. The Veiled Christ (1753), by Giuseppe Sammartino, is uncanny in its realism; so impressed was neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova when he visited the chapel that he tried to buy it. The figures in the crypt, meanwhile, are downright macabre. Obsessed with embalming, the prince supposedly carried out experiments on defunct domestics, injecting their bodies with chemical substances to preserve them. Local lore has it that they were not always dead when the operations took place. By another account, the figures are only models - though no one can say exactly what they're made of.

http://www.museosansevero.it/



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