This small church around the corner from the Duomo holds one of Naples greatest treasures, Caravaggio’s Seven Works of Mercy (1607). Based on the Seven (Christian) Corporal Works of Mercy, it is considered one of the most important religious works of art of the 17th century. Prominently hung over the high altar of the church, it was commissioned by the charitable organization Pio Monte della Misericordia, Pious Mount of Mercy. Founded in 1601 by a group of seven young Neapolitans inspired by the Corporal Works of Mercy, their organizaiton is still in operation today.
Dedicated to Santa Maria della Misericordia, this mid 16th century octagonal church is the work of Francesco Antonio Picchiatti, better known for his Scalone d’onore (1651) at Palazzo Reale. It replaced a smaller church built by Giovan Giacomo for Pio Monte della Misercordia in 1604.
Above the church on the first floor is the Quadreria, the Picture Gallery. Opened in 1972, the gallery underwent a 2 year renovation during which 31 canvases where restored. Reopened to the public in 2003, the gallery features an impressive collection of 16th – 19th century works, especially from late mannerist painters active in Naples such as Giordano, Ribera, Vaccaro, and Caracciolo. The foundation of the collection was a charitable donation of 192 works by Francesco de Mura in 1782 although only 42 of those remain today.
Admission to Pio Monte della Misericordia includes an audio guide for the Picture Gallery. Additionally, a Museum Information Kiosk is located near Caravaggio’s Seven Works of Mercy. Visitors can navigate to and enlarge specific parts of the painting to see them in greater detail, and text descriptions explain how Caravaggio depicted each of the Works of Mercy.