Vasari and Santa Maria di Monteoliveto (today Sant’Anna dei Lombardi, Naples/ Italy
Did you know that Giorgio Vasari left some noteworthy masterpieces at Naples/Italy ?
Giorgio Vasari was born at Arezzo/Italy, the 30th of July 1511. He died in Florence/Italy the 27th of June 1574 in an age of 63 years. Vasari acted as the court painter of the Medici-family; he appeared as Architect and wrote one of the most important biographies about Italian artist before and during his live. As well he created in Rome and in the Vatican salient works, till he was led by destiny to Naples/Italy.
Vasari in Naples and his Biografie: The Lives of the most Excellent painters, sculptors and Architects”
Thanks to his meticulous notations we know nowadays much more details about the Artist which lived before Giorgio Vasari and during his live like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. With his opera “The Lives of the Most excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects “ (in Italian: Le vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori) he became very acquainted fame as art historian. Some expressions like Gothic, Mannerism and Renaissance are to attribute to him. Furthermore he worked for Pope Paul the 3rd , Allessandro Farnese, the chancellor’s office in Rome.
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Vasari in Neaples/Italy: Santa Maria di Monteoliveto (today called: Sant’Anna dei Lombardi)
Finally in 1537 the order of the Olivetans in Rome called Giorgio Vasari and send him in 1544 furthermore to Naples. There he got the order to renew the Refectory (dining room) of the monastery of Santa Maria di Monteoliveto (today called Sant’Anna dei Lombardi). The idea was actually innovating: the tuscan Mannerism was finally brought from Rom and Florence also to the South of Italy, to Naples.
Sant Anna dei Lombardi, Santa Maria Monteoliveto, Vasari in Naples/Italy
Guido Mazzoni „Paganino“ Lamentation of Christ (Foto: C.B. Walch)
Beside the Fresco of Gorgio Vasari you will find here several other outstanding works of world-famous Sculptures and painters. Great masters of Tuscany where engaged here, like Giudo Mazzoni (also called Paganino), which created a group of over-live sized figures made of terracotta: “The lamentation of Christ” made in honor of the family of Alfonso d’Aragon.
As well masters like Benedetto di Maio and Giovanni da Nola set up the grave oratory of aristocratic families like the Tolosa, the Piccolomini and the Correale.
An example of the highest celebration of Tuscan renaissance!
The further called Santa Maria di Monteoliveto was the royal chapel of the Kings of Aragon. Learn more about by a historical Tour with your professional Tourist Guide!
The refectory of Santa Maria di Monteoliveto/ Sant’Anna dei Lombardi done by Giorgio Vasari in Naples/Italy:
The absolute challenge for Vasari was certainly to change the very somber late-Gothic vault to a bright, cheerful ambiance. The refectory, where the monks took in together their meals and received guests and pilgrims, had as well to remind the bible, gospel and meditation. Giorgio Vasari was near to despair by the assignment and he thought more than once to abbandonate!
But only who loves his craftsmanship can do extraordinary work – what proves Vasari here in Naples!
He solved his problem masterly, while he took down the vaults, sharped the corners curved and put snow-white stucco on the ceiling. The Ambience became friendly and bride. The leitmotiv was certainly chosen by the Monks and the Abbot: the virtues of Religion, Belief and Eternity.
To increase the windows combined with the special stucco was the base for Light and radiance! Now him and his collaborators Raffaello del Colle and Stefano Veltroni, had time to do a great job. The so called “Grotesques” animate the arched vault and “dance” around the chief motif like stars in the sky.
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Vasaris work in Naples/Italy:
What do you guess how long it took Vasari & collaborators to complete this amazing master-piece? Book a Tour in Naples and I will unveil all secrets around the monastery Sant’Anna dei Lombardi.
Vasari in Naples and the Oratory’s details:
It takes time to observe all the graceful details. The vaults are divided in triangles and circles, what creates a relaxing ambience. The golden frames around the motive assigns an elegant nuance, separated by clear dark blue designs.
You find Vasari boring?
It’s similar to storytelling: Art becomes much more interesting if you connect it with pictures! The paintings are fantastic, the choice of colors are unique! The motives are touching various themes like mythology, astronomy, horoscope, stories of the bible (it’s an monastery) as well art and history.
This is the moment where you will leave behind all!
Here I will describe only a very small selection of the various motives:
Vasari and the Vanity and modesti: (Vanità-Prudenza)
The church Sant’Anna dei Lombardi was called once, in the moment of Vasari, Santa Maria di Monteoliveto.
The Lady seems to be superficial and full of vanity. But here you will observe the very small line between vanity (amour-proper) and esteem to yourself (respect). Who of us, especially in early years, hadn’t to find out the border between both? The key under her feet shows, that she (or each of us), had to find out where the confines in our live are: How open you can be to the next person and how close you will allow him to come.The mirror represents the modesty and prudence, used to understand if in the reflected imagine is the trues or imagination.
I assume that the monks risked some hided eye, up to the nude parts of the fresco, to discover their own border between chastity and inquisitiveness. You will notice the snake under her feet, which symbolizes the evil of live. This representation was done by Vasari and collaborators on a declined surface. Moving yourself, you will find a surprising motion!
Providence of Vasari, Naples/Italy:
Vasari outstrips himself!
Admire the representation of providence or destiny: the fate. The cornucopia is so typical for Naples and the area of Campania. The goodness of providence fills over and over the chest, as well as the vase at her shoulder. Observe the exact body essay of the master Vasari: The dark background emphasizes the beauty, the feminine shape and the joy of living. The transparent vesture invites the observer to release fantasy…
Is it suitable for a monastery?
Art has to be preserved and it costs money. Therefore I’m sure you will be willed to contribute: The entrance fee is € 5 (Adult). Thank you in advance!
Several other master pieces of Vasari at Naples/Italy:
Would you delight to discover the city of Naples and it’s hided treasures with a professional Tourist Guide?
Naples conceals, in addition to history, as well uncountable art treasures, curiosities and traditions. In Campania (our region) are churches not only the house of our lord, but as well museum and destination of tradition and art. Any of our guests will find in this engaging city a highlight and interesting goal.
Thanks to Stefano Deda, attendant of Sant’Anna dei Lombardi, I was able to learned such a lot of him, the marvelous history, the masterpiece and it’s details, and he transmitted real passion! Thank you!
I expect you as my guests by a unique tour in the city of Naples and Sant’Anna dei Lombardi!
Cecilia Barbara Walch
Tourist guide with passion!
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