(died 1348, Naples)

Exterior view

Santa Chiara, Naples

Externally, Santa Chiara in Naples is undoubtedly the most impressive of the group of Angevin monastic buildings in Naples. It was founded by Sancia di Maiorca, the queen of the Angevin King Robert. The church, begun in 1300 and substantially completed by 1328 was built by Gagliardo Primario. It is the largest Gothic church in the city, characterized by a monastery which includes four monumental cloisters and archaeological excavations.

The bold massing of the façade is one of the most imposing exercises in solid geometry in the whole of the Italian Gothic architecture. The stepped, rectangular outline of the grey stone entrance makes a dramatic contrast to the dark shapes of the three plain entrance arches. Its hollowed block-form is accentuated by the way in which it overlaps the solid verticals of the tower-like, rectangular buttresses.