dates from the first half of the 16th century ehen its construction
was requested by Prince Don Paolo di Sangro di Sansevero.
The palace was transformed in the 18th century by Prince Raimondo di
Sangro, a legendary figure of alchemy and humanism who has given rise
to many mysterious anecdotes, partly deriving from popular imagination
and partly from the undoubted originality of his character.
Raimondo di Sangro was responsible for the faēade of the palace,
decorating it with stuccowork and providing it with a portal
bearing the family coat of arms.
The building was originally connected to the Sansevero Chapel by means
of an overhead passageway; however, following the collapse of a large
part of the left wing of the palace and the passageway (on the
night of 22nd September 1889) the chapel became isolated.
The Sansevero Chapel, otherwise known as Santa Maria della Pietą or
Pietatella, is considered to be one of the finest expressions of
Neapolitan art and architecture.
Its foundation, by Giovanni Francesco di Sangro, dates from 1590.
It was built as a burial place for the members of the Sangro family,
princes of Sansevero, and modernised by his son Alessandro in the 17th
The chapel was again refurbished by Raimondo di Sangro, seventh Prince
of Sansevero, who embellished it with decorations, calling on the
most illustrious artists and sculptors of the time to carry out the
work from 1749 up to his death. The Prince planned an incredible
number of allegorical sculptures which were tied to a single overall
project for decorating the chapel but were sculpted by different
18th century artists such as Corradini, Queirolo, Onelli, Persico,
Celebrano and Sammartino.
Disenchantment is a sculpted group commemorating the Prince's
father who repented of his past excesses and withdrew to a monastery
late in life. Another allegorical statue named Modesty is a
masterpiece sculpted by Corradini in memory of Raimondo di Sangro's
mother Cecilia Caetani dell'Aquila d'Aragona.
The high-relief altar-piece was carved in marble by Francesco
Celebrano. Through the theme of the Deposition it suggest
symbolic death or re-birth.
The idea of death suggests a link with the most celebrated work of
art in the chapel: the Veiled Christ, dated 1753 at the
indication of its author, the sculptor Giuseppe Sammartino, a
young sculptor who, despite his local artistic training, managed to instill
his work with a universal feel. The shroud in wich Christ is wrapped
follows every contour of the body but a particularly impressive
details is the beauty, at once sublime and human, of Christ's dying
breath is wonderfully suggested by the close adhesion of the veil to
During a visit to Naples, Canova was so favourably impressed by the
sculpture that he asked if he could buy it.