Museo Diocesano Napoli

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Museo Diocesano Napoli

This impressive museum exhibits brilliantly restored works by late-Gothic, Renaissance, and Neapolitan Baroque masters. It incorporates the Baroque church of Santa Maria Donnaregina Nuova, which was started in 1617 and consecrated 50 years later for Francescan nuns (les Clarisses), and the Gothic Donnaregina Vecchia, which was damaged by an earthquake. In more modern times the building was used as legal offices before being closed completely, and becoming prey to the occasional theft as well as bomb damage during World War II. In 2008 the space was officially reborn as a museum.

The last two works of Luca Giordano, The Wedding at Cana and The Multiplication of Loaves, both from 1705, are displayed on either side of the church's altar, which was moved from the original church. The central painting focuses on the life of the Virgin Mary, while the first chapel on the left houses French painter Charles Mellin's beautiful Immaculate Conception (1646). To the left of the nave is a space rich in Gothic and Renaissance statuary from the former church. Take the elevator upstairs to where the nuns once attended Mass, concealed from the congregation by screens. The works on display there follow the theme of life as an Imitation of Christ. There is also the chance to see Francesco Solimena's 17th century roof frescoes close up, with floodlights showing off their restoration to maximum effect.

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