Posts Tagged ‘Via Francesco de Sanctis’

This is a chapel located on Via Francesco de Sanctis 19, Naples, Italy and its proper name is Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà, or the Pietatella with plenty of prominent Italian artists from the 18th Century having contributed to it’s look. In 1590 John Francesco di Sangro was recovering from serious illness and had a private chapel built. It was converted to a family burial chapel by Alessandro di Sangro in 1613 and until 1888 it has a passageway from Sansevero to the chapel.

It has a noteable 30 works of art, but the reason I have picked this for my blog is the rather more macabre piece. I am sure you expected that by now. So the chapel has two early “anatomical models” or macchione anatomiche that were thought for some time to be either early attempts at what we now know as plastination or perhaps even human metallization (metallizzazione umana). They were commissioned around 1760 by Raimondo di Sangro by anatomist Giuseppe Salerno.

The exhibit is of a mature male and a pregnant woman, the skeletons are encased in hardened arteries and veins coloured in reds and blues. They thought that it might have been made by taking the corpses and injecting them with a hardening substance, into the living body! However a more recent analysis gives a better view as to what occurred. They found that the construction of the décor on the skeletons involves wire, silk and beeswax. There seems to be no record of how the skeletons were obtained though, were they murdered for their bodies or were they selected?

More here! Photo credits are also in this article.