Starting from Saturday 24th January 2015 – every Saturday and Sunday at 11.30, with obligatory booking – the gothic basement of the San Martino Charterhouse and Museum will be open to the public.
The basement makes up the beautiful and impressive spaces of the foundations of the fourteenth-century Carthusian monastery, a building that began in May 1325 at the behest of Charles, Duke of Calabria, son of King Robert of Anjou. An imposing and elegant work of engineering, with a succession of pillars and pointed vaults supporting the whole Carthusian structure, in the long corridors and in the open spaces, works in marble of the Section of sculptures and inscriptions are displayed – a collection that was formed through purchases, bequests, donations, disposals and deposits in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The exhibition includes about one hundred and fifty works in marble, distributed in the various rooms in chronological order (from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century) but also respecting the original contexts. Among the sculptures in marble, the most important works of the XIV century, include: the sarcophagus of Beatrice del Balzo, obtained from the reuse of a Roman bath of the II-III century AD, the fragment of a female figure lying (perhaps Mary of Valois) from the workshop of the great sculptor-architect of Siena, Tino Camaino, the so-called Mother of Corradino (perhaps Mary of Burgundy, wife of Charles I of Anjou or more likely St. Catherine of Alexandria), and a pane in relief depicting Death and Franceschino di Brignale (1361), a unique allegorical votive built on the contrast between the sense of attachment to life and the inevitability of death. Among the works of the fifteenth century, worth mentioning are the double tombstone, depicting a father and daughter, of the de Miro family (1413), created and designed still in the fourteenth century and, for the first half of the sixteenth century, the beautiful Madonna and Child from the Raphael culture.
The visit to the basement ends with a masterpiece by one of the main protagonists of European sculpture of the eighteenth century: the imposing and languid St. Francis of Assisi (1785-1788 approximately) by Giuseppe Sammartino and with a veiled Allegory (perhaps a Modesty ), probably carved by his student, Angelo Viva, evoking the famous sculptures of the Sansevero Chapel. No less significant is the epigraphic collection, an archive of stone that testifies, with its inscriptions, facts of everyday urban life, the pages of history of the city through the centuries.
The basement is open every Saturday and Sunday at 11.30 with obligatory booking – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (maximum 50 people). In the case of bad weather, the visits won’t take place.
Entry is €6.00 and includes the whole Charterhouse and Museum.
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