Day 5 in Naples: missing the bus but still saw 3 Caravaggios

We walked from our hotel to Pio Monte Della Miseracordia to see Caravaggio’s Seven Acts of Mercy.

Street in front of Hotel Decumani de Charme

Pio Monte Della Miseracordia is a charitable institution set up in 1601 by young Neopolitan aristocrats whose purpose was to help the poor. They commissioned Caravaggio, who had recently arrived in the city after killing Ranuccio Tomassoni, to paint an altarpiece. (Naples was part of the Spanish Kingdom, where the Pope and Italian authorities had no jurisdiction.)

The work illustrates a passage from the Book of Matthew exhorting Christians to house the homeless, clothe the naked, slake the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, doctor the sick and bury the dead.

We took a coffee break and I decided to take a short walk:

Via Foria
Interior Il Duomo
Il Duomo

When I returned to the coffee shop, no one was there even though I was exactly on the time we were to leave. I waited a few minutes then sent a text to the tour manager. After a second text about 10 minutes and no answer, I took a taxi to where we were going next. I arrived almost 30 minutes before the others who were delayed negotiating the ride to Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano, originally a palace for the Colonna family, who were from Milan and had been Caravaggio’s patrons when he was in Rome. A member of the family commissioned a painting of the martyrdom of St. Ursula in celebration of his God daughter becoming a member of the Ursuline order of nuns. It tells the story of the king of the Huns shooting Ursula when she refused to marry him.

This was painted during Caravaggio’s second visit to Naples when he was waiting for an expected pardon from the Pope. It was definitely one of the last paintings he painted.

After lunch, we took a coach (bus) up to the top of the main hill in Naples, Capodimonte.  Sadly it was raining so we couldn’t see Vesuvius. We went to the Museo di Capodiamonte, the largest art collection in Europe.  We went to see The Flagellation of Christ done during his first visit to Naples.

This work and the Seven Acts of Mercy inspired artists in the Naples area.

The above Annunciation by Artemisia Gentilrschi is interesting.  She is one of the few female artists during that period. While young, she was raped by an artist Tassi and the prosecution of her rapist became more of a prosecution of her. She was tortured to determine if she was telling the truth.  Tassi was sentenced to one year but never served a day. Feminist art historians are interested in her, especially because one of her favourite subjects was Judith Beheading Holofernes. The psychological interpretations are obvious. The Capodimonte has one of them but it was out on loan.

In Annunciations, the Archangel Gabriel’s dress often looks like a man’s even when he/it, since Angels have no sex, is wearing robes. Here, it looks to me like the angel is dressed in women’s clothes. Hmmm

Here’s a good Titian:

Titian Pope Paul III

And a contemporary artist, Anselm Kiefer.

The museum doesn’t order its paintings chronologically or I would have missed the Kiefer, but there was lots I didn’t see. The place is huge!

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