Giuseppe Sanmartino — The Veiled Christ
There is a sculpture in Sansevero Chapel which is stunningly beautiful and macabre at the same time. For some reason this statue speaks to me. First the reality of death is so fully shown. Though this is showing Christ it also shows each one of us, because we all will one day lie under a shroud, devoid of life. This idea is shown in a way that frankly is unsettling. Second it puts in front of the viewer the central point of the Christian faith, namely “The Dead Body is not Dead”. It does so in a way that causes the belief to be juxtaposed with what lies in front of the observer.
If you spend time with people in the hours immediately before death, you stare directly into the reality that we truly control nothing. Our thoughts, plans, hopes and desires are utterly meaningless. Reality is not what we want, reality is what is. And you ponder, will this body of this person in front of me, that in mere moments will cease to function at all, return to life again bodily ? The sheer magnitude of that hope hits you in a way that is hard to describe. This sculpture conveys the same.