Christ lying under the Shroud
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Sanmartino was born in Naples. His first dated (1753) work is The Veiled Christ or Christ lying under the Shroud, commissioned initially from the Venetian sculptor Antonio Corradini who did not live to complete the work. Sammartino interpreted his sketches freely to create a masterful sculpture which can be seen in Sansevero Chapel (also called Capella Sansevero de' Sangri or Pietatella) in Naples. Other contributors to this chapel were Francesco Celebrano and the Genoese sculptor Francesco Queirolo.
The statue of Christ under the shroud is elaborately artificial (Wittkower labels this a hypertrophic effort) by reproducing in stone, the effect of a thin veil. In the same chapel, Corradini's antecedent statue of Chastity (also called Modesty) is present. The Chapel in Naples has three Rococo sculptural masterpieces, commissioned by Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero . The elaborate sculptures celebrate his family and for each a guiding virtue. The subjects of the tombs included Sincerity, Religious Zeal and Charity, but the most remarkable works are Sammartino's, Corradini's Chastity, and Queirolo's Release from Deception, conceived as monuments to the patron's mother and father respectively.
Successful completion of this commission earned Sammartino further commissions.