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Charles of Anjou started the building of this monastery in 1325. The realization of the works was assigned to many architects as Francesco di Vito, Mazzeo di Malotto and Tino da Camaino . The monastery was finished by Queen Giovanna in 1368, but the first monks came and lived there in 1337. Around 1580 the monastery was enlarged and much decorated. Since 1623, thanks to the architect Cosimo Fanzago, it got one of the best Neapolitan baroque buildings. With the unity of Italy, the State bought it. In 1866 Giuseppe Fiorelli founded the National Museum of S. Martino, seat of the art collection made of objects linked to the history of Naples and of the southern reign; the works of the Historical Section are divided in many collections of paintings, sculpture, cribs and minor arts.


includes the monks cemetery, the procurators cloister, the big cloister and the church. The church was inaugurated in 1368; it has one nave even if at the beginning it had three naves. The other two were destroyed in the Sixteenth century and substituted with lateral chapels. Because of theThe Carthusian Internal several workers (as Giovanni Antonio Dosio, Fanzago, Domenico Vaccaio and Giuseppe Sanmartino) who led its rebuilding, the church often changed its aspects. In the vault, that still has its original frame made in the Fourteenth century,you can admire frescoes by Giovanni Lanfranco (1637-1640) with the Angels, Blessed and Apostles. There are also paintings by Caracciolo, Finoglia, Reni, Ribera, Stanzione; in order to appreciate the sculpture and the decorative arts of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth century you can admire also the marble busts by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, the wonderful marbles made by Cosimo Fanzago on the floor and walls, the high altar with its rococo balustrade, the wooden inlaid works and the huge book-rest made at the beginning of the Seventeenth century. The Maddalena chapel, the Conversi Choir with its stagy tapestry painted by Micco Spadaro, the sacristy with the wooden inlaid works on the closet and the Treasure fresco painted by Luca Giordano are preserved very well.


The Historical Section represent the main part - now it is in a reorganization phase - and it presents paintings, sculptures, furniture, medals, miniatures, coins, decorations, arms and relics on the political, economic and social history of the reign of Naples, as the riot of Masaniello (1647), the plague, the 1799 revolution, the Murat regency period, the Risorgimento. The tiny Picture Gallery is closed at the moment; it contains important works of the Neapolitan painting of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries and made by Caracciolo, De Mura, Traversi, Micco Spadaro, Pacecco de Rosa, Mattia Preti and Castiglione. Also the section dedicated to "Still lives " is interesting and represented by Ruoppolo, Lopez, Recco and Belvedere paintings. The section dedicated to Neapolitan Ottocento will soon be opened; you will be able to see works by landscape and figurative painters as Pitloo, Gigante, Vervloet, Morelli and Michetti. There will be shown also historical and Risorgimento works coming from Neapolitan private collections. Cribs are an important part of the museum; they are shown where there was the monastery kitchen long time ago; the museum of S. Martino has one of the most important collections of cribs, that in Eighteenth - Nineteenth centuries had a brilliant production. In the exhibition there is also the most complete and famous crib: the Cuciniello one; Mr. Cuciniello was the person who in 1879 gave to the museum its huge collection of shepherds, angels, animals, still - lives. He decided to show his collection in a stagy cave, which was made on the occasion. San Martino Museum contains also many works of decorative art (ceramics, porcelains, ivories, semiprecious stones, corals, cloths, jewels) made by local manufactures (Capodimonte Factory and Royal Factory of Naples), Italian (Grue, Gentili) and European ones (Ginori, Sévres, Meissen). The "Prior room", where the monastery prior lived, was restored and contains a tiny gallery of works made in the Seicento by Ribera, Vaccaro, Pacecco de Rosa; it also has paintings and sculptures moved from the church as it was rebuilt.


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