The Treasures of Naples

Fr. Blake posted yesterday about a new exhibit being hosted here in Rome: The Treasures of Naples. It is a collection of priceless works of art, some of which I think have rarely been seen by the public, that originate from the cult of devotion surrounding the great saint and patron of the City of Naples, St. Januarius (in Italian: San Gennaro).

Here is just one sample of the things on display:

Oh yes.

A closeup of one section of the above miter.

Here is an interesting detail concerning the value of the items in the exhibit, from the museum’s press release (I left the spelling/grammar errors intact):

In order to understand the impact of this event, suffice it to say that the historical value of the Treasure of Saint Januarius, formed throughout seven centuries of donations from Popes, Emperors, Kings and popular exvotos, is higher than that of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and those of the Tsar of Russia, as found during a research project conducted by a team of gemmologists led by Professor Ciro Paolillo, curator of the exhibition, the results of which were published in 2010. The team investigated several precious jewels donated to the Saint, which will be exhibited in Rome, for three years. Moreover, unlike other dynastic and ecclesiastical heritages, the Treasure has remained intact ever since it was formed and has never endured spoliation, nor have the jewels ever been sold to fund wars. It has constantly been increased by means of acquisitions and accessions.

And then our friends in the Mass Media had this little crash landing for an article about the exhibit:

…our Rome correspondent says the collection is unlikely to be visited by Pope Francis, who has advocated a more frugal lifestyle for Catholic clergy and has called upon his Church to pay more attention to the needs of the poor.

Duh. I doubt the Pope’s going to go to his own museum – the Vatican Museum – either, never mind this museum across town from where he lives, and it’s not because he finds it offensive. It’s because he has bigger fish to fry and probably not a lot of time to go and browse museums.

And don’t even get me going on the topic about how beauty and expensive things do not deprive the poor! (See here, here, and here.)

This museum is just around the corner from where I live and I hope to go see the exhibit soon. It seems like the sort of thing that one might see once in a lifetime.

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