Sanmartino’s "Veiled Christ"

Sometimes I get so historian-like and analytical that I forget to appreciate the sheer beauty of art. I thought I’d post images a sculpture that I think is so beautiful and impressive, that it blows my mind. I hope I can see Giuseppe Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ (1753; Capella de Sansevero, Naples) in person one day.

I think one can get a good sense of the Baroque drama (with the dark shadows) in this photograph
Isn’t it amazing how Sanmartino sculpted the marble to give the impression of a thin, purely transparent veil? I’ve seen thin drapery folds before, but I think this is the only sculpture that makes me feel as if I’m looking through the marble. What technical mastery!
  • heidenkind says:

    I haven't seen this one in person, although I do remember it from one of my classes.

    A sculpture that truly took my breath away was Donatello's Mary Magdalene. I felt like I was looking at a real person when I saw it. It was amazing!

  • joolee says:

    Truly amazing. I recall something similar we saw in one of the MANY churches in Italy – a sculpture of Saint Cecelia?? For some reason that name comes to mind…

  • Ben Gage says:

    thanks for posting this, it's a great sculpture, I love to be reminded of the poetry in art, especially in stone.

  • ixoj says:

    Beautiful! When I was in Rome, Trav and I discovered a few similar (to this) sculptures of women in sheer robes in an old building somewhere near the Roman Forum. It's amazing to see what can be done with rock!

  • M says:

    Donatello's "Mary Magdelene" is incredible – I totally agree with you, heidenkind. I can imagine that your breath was taken away. Aren't those moments with art unforgettable?

    Joolee, I think you might be talking about this statue of Saint Cecilia by Stefano Maderno. This sculpture was AMAZING. I really should research more about it. I remember that seeing this statue was one of the highlights from our time in Rome. (Besides the Paul McCartney concert!) 😉

    Ben Gage, welcome to my blog! Thanks for you comment. I completely agree – this sculpture is poetic. It is nice to be reminded of poetry in art. I should do posts like this more often.

    It is amazing what can be done with rock, isn't it, ixoj? If you took pictures of those statues by the Roman Forum, I'd love to see them.

  • e says:

    That is so beautiful I can hardly take my eyes from it. Wow, talk about truly being moved by art.

    It's interesting because since taking up your blog, I have really examined what kind of art *moves* me, you know? I've realized in the last couple months that I'm most moved by sculptures. Not to say that paintings aren't lovely too, but for me, I can connect so much more with a beautiful sculpture.

    With Sanmartino's sculpture, I was first caught up in how beautiful the veil was over the face, then I noticed the draping over the feet. AMAZING. I can't even fathom how someone could ever be that talented. Lovely post!

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.