Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

entry Mar 2012

Statuary, Monuments & Structures in the Villa Comunale

This is n.5 in a series. To part 1;   part 2;   part 3;   part 4;   part 6

There is a bit of confusion about this one. It is commonly called, even in
some guide books,
Orestes & Electra, since it seems to be a copy
 of an identical work in the Naples Archaeological Museum.
 In mythology, this brother & sister team are well-known
 for plotting revenge against their mother, Clytemnestra,
 and stepfather, Aegisthus, for the murder
 of their father, Agamemnon.

---> BUT! <---

here is another group statue
in the museum,
originally found in Pozzuoli
and now reckoned to be the
real Orestes & Electra.
This one (above) and, obviously, the one in the museum
have now been reclassified as
Lucius Papirius Talking with his Mother.
Indeed, it is identified as such in the 1846 book by Di Cesare cited in part 1 of this series.

Lucius Papirius was
a Roman general and consul. In this
scene, he is said to be deflecting his mother's curiosity
about the workings of the Roman senate by telling her in jest that they were
considering giving an extra wife to each man in order to populate Rome more abundantly.
This is one of the many charming "fountain groups" in the Villa Comunale and is near the east entrance on the south side (the side that is nearest the sea). It is a copy done by Violani in 1770.

This one was a bit confusing, as well, but for a different reason. It is near the Four Lions fountain and in the midst of white marble classical statues, so I figured, more of the same. It, too, was white and gleaming, but...but there was something different. It was rough-hewn. Indeed, this Pelican Feeding Her Young is from 1884 and is by Francesco Jerace (1854 –1937), the prominent Calabrian sculptor. He did the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy, that is one of the famous eight figures along the western facade of the Royal Palace. He is most known for his contribution—a group statue called L'Azione—to the national monument to King Victor Emanuel II in Rome. A somewhat hidden work of his in Naples is the statue of Beethoven in the courtyard of the Naples Conservatory. He also did a great number of famous literary and political figures of the day, including Carducci and King Umberto I, located in many places throughout Italy and even elsewhere in the Villa Comunale. The museum in his birthplace of Polistena is named for him. This pelican statue was done and erected in thanks to the rest of Italy for help during the cholera epidemic in Naples of 1884. It bears an inscription to that effect: Dedicated to the memory of the generous brothers from every province of Italy who heroically came to the aid of the stricken during the cholera outbreak of 1884. There follows a list of those who came to help and paid with their lives.

This delightful Ionian temple
was erected before 1819. It is past the halfway point in the park (entering from the east) and is located on the right-hand side in a bucolic setting. There is nothing further in sources on the building of the temple, but it contains a bust of Virgil (photo insert) by Tito Angelini (1806-78), a Neapolitan sculptor who has many other works in the city. He collaborated with Tommaso Solari (the grandson! of the Solari mentioned earlier in this series) on the grand statue of Dante in Piazza Dante. This bust of Virgil was done in 1826. (He was only 20; I'm thinking that accounts for the youthful appearance of Virgil!)


To part 1;   part 2;    part 3;    part 4;    part 6

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