The Neapolitan Reliquaries of Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661)

While I regrettably have very little information to provide to you, these works are simply too good to pass up. What you are looking at are the reliquaries attributed to Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661), a sculptor and Franciscan friar. The works in question are dated to the second quarter of the 17th century and are located in Naples.

The reliquaries are carved in wood and then stuccoed and gilt with gold leaf. What is particularly impressive to me are the elegance and delicacy of the figures which have a kind of classical serenity to them. 

The reliquaries are kept within cupboards called lipsanoteca -- beautiful in their own right.

But let us turn to the primary point of focus, the reliquary figures. In each instance there is a sculpted figure which sits on top of a base which contains the actual relics themselves. The faces are of particular interest to consider; they have an expressiveness about them which prematurely reminds one of qualities of the baroque, but in a manner which is far more restrained yet not stoical. By the same token, the depiction of the clothing is also worthy of consideration; the smooth contours and drape of the clothing is augmented by beautiful patterned detailing within the gold leaf. 

S. Saturnino

S. Felice da Nola

Pope Sixtus II

S. Justin Martyr

S. Flaviano

S. Apollinaire, martyr

S. Alessandro

S. Genziano

S. Fortunato

S. Valentine

S. Erasmo

S. Valerio

S. Antonello

S. Macario

S. Celestine

S. Gustavo

Absolutely stunning works of liturgical art.

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