Museum of the Treasury of Saint Gennaro (Museo del Tesoro di San
Gennaro) was opened a year ago in Naples.
museum centre is of extremely high historical, spiritual and
artistic value. It is dedicated to the extraordinary works
belonging to the Treasury of Saint Gennaro, which has never been
exhibited before, as well as to the beautiful vestry showing
frescoes by Luca Giordano and paintings by Domenichino and Massimo
Stanzione, among others.
Treasury of Saint Gennaro consists of ancient documents, precious
objects, silver pieces, jewellery, paintings of inestimable value
which, throughout the centuries, have been donated in devotion to
the Saint by kings, popes, distinguished men or common people.
Such objects have found their home here. This allows the setting
of several thematic exhibitions, making it possible to follow a
rare and extraordinarily logical path.
first exhibition was called “Gli Argenti” (The Silver works),
a unique collection that dates from 1305 up to the present and
that, thanks to the efforts of the Deputation of the Royal Chapel
of the Treasury of Saint Gennaro (Deputazione della Real Cappella
del Tesoro di San Gennaro), has come to us untouched by theft,
pillaging or spoliation for the financing of wars.
collection that, apart from one work of art belonging to the
Provençal school, is attributed entirely to the great artists of
the Neapolitan school. The collection displays the Neapolitan
silversmiths’ ability, the artistic mastery and extraordinary
skill that they have been handing down from father to son for
hundred and fifty audioguides, available in Italian, German,
English, French and Spanish, are included in the entrance fee.
Such devices, together with the support given by hostesses and
tour guides, are able to offer a detailed and precise explanation
of the whole museum.
to the museum there is the Royal Chapel of the Treasury of Saint
Gennaro (Real Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro), a universal
jewel from the Baroque period.
centuries of silver
popular devotion, religiousness, spectacularity: Argenti (Silver
works), the Museum of the Treasure of Saint Gennaro’s
first thematic exhibition dedicated to Silver works, offers all
this and much more. A
path of splendours seven centuries long can now be admired, intact
in its beauty, thanks to the Deputation’s (Deputazione)
praiseworthy efforts. In fact, many of the objects exhibited have
been saved and preserved from the continuous lootings and
expropriations typical of the era. These objects have
managed to come down to us practically untouched, bearing evidence
of a history of extremely refined craftsmanship dating from the
Silver pieces exhibited in the Museum of the Treasure of Saint
Gennaro document, precisely, the extraordinary skill of Neapolitan
sculptors and silversmiths, and their ability to combine technical
knowledge with creativity. The chalices, pyxes, baskets, holders,
candelabras, plates, and ostensories with busts and statues of
Patron Saints, as well as all the other objects on exhibit, are
the fruit of a team of masters, each one highly skilled in his own
crafts. Sculptors, chisellers, welders and mettitori
d’insieme (as assemblers used to be called at that time)
have created masterpieces
of rare beauty.
Silver pieces represent an important part of the
Treasure of Saint Gennaro because these antique works were
for the most part sacred for the daily liturgical use and the
majority of the statues were meant to hold the relics of the
Saints which played an especially important role in popular
devotion in the XVII century. Many busts were therefore
commissioned by brotherhoods, churches and monasteries in honour
of their patrons and then entrusted to the custody and care of the
Chapel of the Treasure of Saint Gennaro from where they used to be
moved every now and then for processions as well as other various
religious festivities. The artistic beauty of the busts and
statues of the patron saints, especially those belonging to the
XVII and XVIII centuries, go beyond the mere devotional style and
Del Giudice, Carlo Schisano, Giovan Domenico Vinaccia, Lorenzo
Vaccaio are only some of the artists of the works of art displayed
in the exhibition. They represent not only the pride and merit of
Naples’ art and craftsmanship, but they also bear testimony to
the worship and devotion for Saint Gennaro.