Among the treasures of Naples, the Veiled Christ has a special spot. It is considered to be one of the greatest sculptures of all the times. Jesus is portrayed at the moment after his crucifixion, laying and dead, but the most peculiar thing is the shroud covering him. The veil is transparent and light and makes the observer see everything beneath it; the sleeping and peaceful face, the holes in the feet and the hands, his hair, the muscles of the body. On the side there are the pliers and the nails directly taken from the body.
It is truly an artistic miracle that moved people from all over the world today still.
Cappella Sansevero Veiled Christ
Kept in the CappellaSansevero, in Naples, the Veiled Christ was commissioned by Prince RaimondodiSangro, an Italian nobleman, scientist and alchemist that was one of the exponent of the Italian Illuminismo (Age of Light).
The Prince spent a great part of his life and his financial resources to renovate Sansevero Chapel. He had in mind a statue of Christ with some unique features, he wanted to create a masterpiece to keep in the Chapel.
The Veiled Christ project was then given to Giuseppe Sanmartino, selected only as a second choice after Antonio Corradini‘s death. Sanmartino entered forever the list of the unforgettable artists of that century with his Veiled Christ, but the influence of the Prince was strong during the creative process and there is even a legend concerning the veil.
According to the legend the alchemist found out how to transform cloth in marble and for a period there was the belief that after the sculpture was ended, he puts a veil on it and transformed it in marble.
Actually proper analysis show that Veiled Christ was created from a single block of stone. How incredible is that? Antonio Canova himself declared that he would have give up 10 years of its own life to create such a miraculous sculpture!