CORRADINI, Antonio
(b. 1668, Padova, d. 1752, Napoli)

Modesty

1749-52
Marble, height 195 cm
Santa Maria della Pietà dei Sangro, Naples

No instance in Italian sculpture in this period is more extreme than the Sansevero Chapel in Naples, which was transformed into a a sculptural pantheon by Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, in the 1750s. By importing Antonio Corradini from Venice and Francesco Queirolo (1704-1762) from Genoa, the Prince of Sansevero evolved an elaborate programme of monuments and medallions to celebrate generations of his family, each in the light of a guiding virtue. The subjects of the tombs included Sincerity, Religious Zeal and Liberality, but the most remarkable works are Corradini's Modesty and Queirolo's Release from Deception. Paired in the chapel's presbytery, they were conceived as monuments to the patron's mother and father respectively.

The Modesty brilliantly exploits the contradiction between the properties of the marble and the transparency of the veil that both obscures and reveals the figure. The broken tablet at Modesty's side refers to the premature death of the patron's mother.

Contemporaries praised the sculptures of the Sansevero Chapel as surpassing Classical art in conception and accomplishment.