Pio Monte della Misericordia
The Pio Monte della Misericordia , founded in 1602 by seven Neapolitan nobles with the aim of carrying out works of charity and assistance, still today, almost with the same rules as then, continues its journey with the same purposes.
Its ancient headquarters in via dei Tribunali, built by the Royal Architect Francesco Antonio Picchiatti (from 1658), preserves on the main altar of the Church one of the most celebrated paintings of the seventeenth century: the Works of Mercy also known as The Seven Works of Mercy by Michelangelo Merisi known as Caravaggio (1607).
The enigmatic painting, one of the masterpieces of the turbulent painter fleeing Rome after conviction for murder, depicts with great realism, in an intertwining of characters taken from the street, the charity activities of the Body inspired by the Works of Corporal Mercy. On the side chapels the works of Battistello, Giordano, Santafede, Forlì and Azzolino illustrate the Works of Mercy exercised since the early years of activity.
On the first floor, the rooms of the Picture Gallery can be visited, rooms still used by the Association, full of recently restored paintings from various schools from the 16th to the 19th century , sculptures, applied arts and furnishings. Over the course of four centuries a conspicuous patrimony of art has been formed thanks to inheritances or donations given to the Monte to be sold: the proceeds were destined for charitable works. Today we admire, in particular, the collection of the greatest painter active in Naples in the second half of the 18th century, Francesco De Mura , who leaves all the paintings, including many sketches, present in his study.
The historic apartment of the Quadreria opens with the large Hall for the Assemblies with the De Mura and the majestic equestrian portraits of the Tocco family; it continues with the Anticamere , with the famous Self-portrait by Luca Giordano , the Sant'Antonio Abate di Ribera , the Pietà by Andrea Vaccaro and the ancient, original seven-sided meeting table; then the Hall of the Coat of Arms dedicated to the sketches by Francesco de Mura ; the Studio dei Governatori and the Studio del Superintendente with the Caravaggeschi; the Sala del Coretto , a 'stage' for reserved prayer, which allows you to look out into the Church enjoying a spectacular and privileged view from the top of the High Altar with Caravaggio 's masterpiece; finally, the Government Hall , the heart of the Pio Monte della Misericordia , in which, surrounded by the canvases of Mattia Preti , the Governors in office today gather around the big table every Friday to decide on the activities to be carried out.