Seven Acts for Mercy, Pio Monte della Misericordia

The permanent exhibition of works by internationally renowned artists: Charles Skapin, Mimmo Jodice, Clifford Ross, Flavio Colusso, Sandro Chia, Carlos Araujo, Marisa Albanese, Salvino Josè de Campos, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Mimmo Paladino, Giulia Piscitelli, Franz West, Gilberto Zorio, Lorenzo Scotto di Luzio, Francesco Clemente, Douglas Gordon, Grazia Toderi, Maria Thereza Alves, Mariangela Levita, Nasan Tur, Antonio Biasucci, Roberto Caracciolo, Piero Golia, Rachel Howard, Anish Kapoor, Henrietta Labouchere, Olaf Nicolai , David Batchelor, Domenico Bianchi, Ileana Florescu, Candida Höfer, Nunzio, Michal Rovner and Paul Thorel.

In recent years, the Section of Contemporary Art has been established, with works by artists who reinterpret the theme of Mercy using the most diverse techniques. Opening up to the most recent expressive languages, Pio Monte della Misericordia promotes scholarships for young talents from the Academy of Fine Arts, whose works alongside those of internationally renowned artists who create a work exhibited and then donated to Pio Monte, enriching the Section of Contemporary Art, within the project “Seven Works for Mercy”.

To date, the Section presents over 40 works by important contemporary artists, including Anish Kapoor, Mimmo Jodice, Mimmo Paladino, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Giberto Zorio, Francesco Clemente, Gordon Douglas , and as many of young Neapolitan artists projected to success.


The fourth Opera di Misericordia, 2013
by Mimmo Paladino

Mimmo Paladino (Benevento, 1948) intertwines his activity as an artist, painter and sculptor also with theatrical settings and is part of the Transavanguardia movement, an artistic movement that, opposing years of abstract art, proposes a return to figures and work as fruit of a manual activity.

The panel, treated with different materials, opens to the eyes of the observer full of impulses and stimuli: the dove of the Holy Spirit triumphs in the center of the composition as in the domes of Catholic churches, while all around figures with childish and primitive features recall icons and human silhouettes, images of passages and paths; the composition refers to the fourth work of mercy “hosting the pilgrims”, as it is also indicated by the presence, on the side of the panel, of a stick, an inevitable object of the traveler.

The pity, 2011
by Mimmo Jodice

Mimmo Jodice (Naples, 1934) since the 1960s has dedicated himself to avant-garde photography, using different materials and interpreting photography not only as a descriptive medium, but as a creative tool. Over the years he has created works increasingly distant from reality, approaching the poetics of conceptualism. Another field of interest of Jodice is the analysis of its territory, southern Italy, and the study of the most popular forms of religiosity.

The work here presents a detail of Michelangelo ‘s Pietà , a sculptural group preserved in the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome. The chiaroscuro black and white is preferred, which frames and highlights the faces of the Madonna and Christ, who emerge from the dark and compact matter acquiring a different corporeality and a new drama.

The work fits into the context of Pio Monte both for the religious theme and for the reference to the Caravaggesque Madonna, creating a contact, a comparison between two great masters: Michelangelo and Caravaggio.

Acts of Mercy, 2011
by Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954. An internationally successful artist, he has lived and worked in London since the 1970s. His art is the result of the meeting of Indian and western British culture and often enhances opposing elements and forces, also belonging to the sensitive world: light and shadow, male and female, material and immaterial, the glossy and the opaque, the smooth and the rough.

The work exhibited here is formed by a block in beeswax modeled by a matrix in steel and wood. Here too we find the themes preferred by the artist: the relationship between good and evil, full and empty, negative and positive, concave and convex. Sculpting, investigating universal macrosystems, deals with the great themes and big questions that have always occupied humanity’s thoughts.

Untitled, 2013
by Jannis Kounellis
Jannis Kounellis, Greek artist, between the 60s and 70s elaborates his own style, characterized by the use of simple and everyday materials: coal, iron, old furniture, terracotta pots or natural elements. His work thus fits into the artistic current called Arte Povera.

The installation is made up of two steel bars that intersect to form a Roman cross and pass from worn toe to five worn, male, leather and differently made shoes.

The work is full of symbolic meanings: the cross is a clear devotional sign of Christian symbolism, while shoes are a metaphor for man’s existential journey on earth, his spiritual journey to reach new awareness. Thus the work is metaphorically linked to the acts of charity of “dressing the naked” and “hosting the pilgrims”.

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Without title, 2011
by Sandro Chia

Sandro Chia (Florence, 1946) in the 80s, together with characters like Clemente and Paladino, became one of the protagonists of the Transavanguardia movement: in this phase works characterized by a strong expressiveness were born, inhabited by consistent, full-bodied, often melancholic and almost suspended between heaven and earth.

The male figure in bronze, seated leaning on a shapeless mass, rests on a broken and irregular wooden table. The matter is shaped summarily, and the subject, devoid of a defined face, appears sketched.

The figure can remember the first man in the world, made of earth and shaped by the hands of God himself.

The Pio Monte della Misericordia
Pio Monte della Misericordia is an institution founded in 1602 by seven Neapolitan nobles who, aware of the needs of a population in need of help and solidarity, decide to donate part of their possessions and their commitment to charitable works.

Caravaggio’s painting , from the top of the high altar of the chapel, summarizes the actions of solidarity exercised by Pio Monte della Misericordia in an extraordinary synthesis of the Seven Works of Corporal Mercy still carefully exercised today .

The ancient seat, with the historic building built in the seventeenth century, has a vast historical and artistic heritage and a rich Fine Art Gallery with paintings from different schools and periods, including works by Massimo Stanzione, Jusepe de Ribera, Luca Giordano, Andrea Vaccaro, and a considerable quantity of paintings and sketches by Francesco De Mura, a gift from the artist to the Institute. For some years the collection has been enriched with important works on the theme of Mercy performed by great contemporary artists.

On the second floor of the building are housed the Historical Archive and the Library , where documents from the fourteenth century are kept, as well as several private funds, including that of Aquino di Caramanico, with the precious parchment of the proclamation to Doctor of the Church of San Tommaso d’Aquino.

For over four centuries, Pio Monte della Misericordia, with its Governors and Associates, has continued the work of assistance and charity by adapting the interventions to changing needs.

The Picture gallery
From the left portal in the portico of the facade you can access, going up to the first floor, the historical rooms of the complex, where there are also the pictorial collections of Pio Monte, considered one of the most important in Naples.

The Quadreria del Pio Monte della Misericordia consists of 140 canvases, although about 122 are exhibited in the rooms, ranging from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, mostly the result of donations made for the benefit of the institution, among which the conspicuous collection left in 1782 by the painter Francesco De Mura, which originally counted 180 of his works. Another important nucleus of works of art concerns the donation from the heritage of Gennaro Marciano, from 1802, and from that of Maria Sofia Capece Galeota, which took place in 1933.

In the museum rooms of the palace are also preserved sacred vestments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, other pieces of applied art, some archive documents and the original furniture of the complex, including the historic seven-sided table used for the meetings of the governors, made by anonymous carvers of the seventeenth century and which is exhibited in the second anteroom, and the fake wardrobe on the wall of the coretto room which hides an opening thanks to which the governors were allowed to be able to admire the Caravaggio canvas on the main altar of the church.

The Pio Monte della Misericordia Picture Gallery is a picture gallery in Naples located in the Pio Monte della Misericordia complex.

The picture gallery is made up of 140 paintings, of which 122 exhibited in the halls, mostly the result of donations or testamentary bequests that occurred during the life of the foundation.

The canvases are exhibited in ten historic rooms on the first floor of the Pio Monte palace; the most conspicuous nucleus is represented by the works left by Francesco De Mura on August 19, 1782, who in fact donated 180 canvases made by him on the condition that the foundation sold them only for charitable purposes. However, around 33 of these works remain on display, including paintings and sketches.

Other important donations that enriched the artistic collection were that of June 9, 1802 by Don Gennaro Marciano, who saw among the precious pieces the paintings attributed to Mattia Preti and the two on Sant’Apollonia and Sant’Agnese by Massimo Stanzione, and then that of the noblewomanMaria Sofia Galeotas Capece, in 1933, who donated 31 paintings, including the ‘ Self-portrait of Luca Giordano, the Sant’Antonio Abate of Jusepe de Ribera and paintings by Agostino Beltrano and Giovanni Stefano Maja.

The first opening of the picture gallery took place in 1973, at the behest of the politician, and superintendent of Pio Monte, Tommaso Leonetti of Santo Janni. The paintings on display are almost all from the Neapolitan school and date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.