Cristo Velato

The marble work known as  the “Veiled Christ”, sculpted by Giuseppe Sanmartino in 1753, represents an evocative image of the Christ in death, covered by a shroud made from the same block of marble as the body of Jesus is carved.  This scuplture is featured in the Chapel of Sansevero in Naples,

Sansevero (1710-1771). was considered a great contributor of the European Enlightenment; a scholar, publisher, first Grand Master of Neapolitan Freemasonry, and a prolific inventor and enterprising patron. His strongest interests included esotericism, chemistry and anatomy (as evidenced by the other two curious works, located inside the Chapel, the so-called anatomical machines). These works were so well-known, he acquired fame among  his colleagues, and was referred to as a real magician.   Benedetto Croce, a Naples intellectual for the populace claimed the Prince of Sansevero is the Neapolitan incarnation of Dr. Faust, who made a pact with the devil.  It is said, to master the most hidden secrets of nature, you must become a devil yourself.

To commission the statue, Prince Raimondo di Sangro, was asked to create marble statue carved in the actual size, representing Jesus Christ – dead, covered by a transparent shroud made from the same block as the statue. The aura of mystery that surrounds the work and the ways of its incredible life like qualities, have influenced observers for centuries.  The same methods were used in the other statues that surround the entire chapel.  The scupltures are rich in Masonic symbols.