Charterhouse and museum of San Martino Naples
The Certosa, or Charterhouse, founded in the fourteenth century at the behest of Charles II of Anjou (Tino di Camaino, among others, worked on the project), was reconstructed between the late 1500s and the following century.
Cosimo Fanzago was responsible for the decorative compositions that we can admire in various rooms of the monastery, and that make this monument one of the most celebrated expressions of Neapolitan baroque: examples include the splendid marble decoration in the church, further embellished with stuccoes by Vaccaro, the marble floor of the central nave, by Fra’ Bonaventura, and numerous works of art – the statues of the Baptist and of Saint Jerome at the entrance, also by Fanzago, two paintings of Moses and Elijah by Jusepe de Ribera, and the Deposition by Massimo Stanzione.
The Cappella del Tesoro houses the eighteenth- century altar in lapis lazuli, a Deposition by Ribera and numerous frescoes by Luca Giordano, including the Triumph of Judith, of 1704, which adorns the ceiling. The Coro dei Conversi, is also of exceptional beauty, its wooden choir stalls inlaid with saints, landscapes and views. Close by, in the sacristy, the wooden cupboards have also been inlaid, their panels depicting the Biblical stories of the Apocalypse.
In the museum, the Historical Section uses images and objects to tell the story of Naples from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, from the Angevin and Aragonese monarchy to the Spanish Viceroy period, the Bourbon reign, and the Unification of Italy, in parallel with the urban development of the city, which is clearly documented by maps. The Tavola Strozzi, the painting that depicts the return of the Aragonese fleet to Naples, is an extraordinary document of the fifteenth-century city.
The city was also the scene of dramatic events: Piazza Mercato, the site of Masaniello’s insurrection (1647), the Largo del Mercatello is a reminder of the terrible plague epidemic of 1656, the Thanksgiving for the plague averted commissioned by the Carthusians, all of whom are depicted against a background showing a view of the city, are works by Domenico Gargiulo.
In the seventeenth century Gaspar van Wittel portrayed Naples with perspective instruments and a masterful command of pictorialmedia, followed by Antonio Joli, whose paintings also illustrate aspects of daily life and of Court, and by the refined Jacques Volaire. We then come to the romantic atmospheres and realistic reprises of nineteenth-century artists, documenting the final events of the Bourbon monarchy and of the post-unification city. Depictions of the city are accompanied by portraits of the kings of the House of Bourbon, and by smaller-scale documentation, created using the most varied techniques (porcelains, miniatures, coins, wax figures), relative to various sovereigns and to the Court, constituting a selection of the mass of ‘historical memories’ which, from the outset, have been one of the museum’s most distinctive features.
Since the year 2000 the collections have been exhibited in a new layout: Images and memories of the city, Collections of Decorative Arts, Theatrical Section, Museo dell’Opera della Certosa, Quarto del Priore, Section with landscapes belonging to the Fondazione Alisio, Spicery, Naval Section. This site is included in the circuit campania>artecard.