Gesu Nuovo

To erect the Church of the Gesu Nuovo (in 1584-97) the Jesuits reused the diamond-tipped ashlar facade of the large Sanseverino palace of the princes of Salerno (1470), according to a widespread practice in Naples at the time, given the limited building spaces in the historic center and the prohibition to build outside the walls.

The original, imposing dome collapsed due to an earthquake in 1688; rebuilt but still unsafe, it was replaced with a bowl-shaped architecture in 1786, after which, starting from 1771, the body of the church had also been reinforced (counter-pillars and arches) based on a design by Ferdinando Fuga.

Gesu Nuovo

The Baroque portal, with columns and sumptuous angels on the tympanum with the Jesuit coat of arms, “IHS”, incorporates the Renaissance. Almost all the important marble works, sculptors and painters active in the city between the end of the sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries left their traces in the sumptuous marble cladding, stuccos and naturalistic frescoes of the grandiose baroque interior, whose iconographic ensemble is aimed at celebrating a militant religiosity.

As soon as you enter, you can see, on the counter-façade, The expulsion of Heliodorus from the temple by Francesco Solimena (1725), a fresco with brilliant and precious chromatic tones in which the artist represents with an almost theatrical dynamism the scene of the attempted desecration of the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

Among the other precious works of art, the four evangelists in the corbels of the dome, by the Emilian Giovanni Lanfranco, stand out; the frescoes by Corenzio, the canvases by Luca Giordano, the sculptures by Cosimo Fanzago in the chapel of S. Francesco Saverio and again the large and imposing forms of architecture and sculptures (Davide and Geremia) by Fanzago himself in the chapel of Sant’Ignazio, whose life is illustrated by Jusepe de Ribera in the altar paintings.

Interesting, as a testimony to the cult of relics and the considerable reliquary heritage of the Jesuits, is the second chapel on the left, in the back wall, where precious 17th and 18th century painted wooden stauros are kept, including that of Domenico Di Nardo in wood gilded with seventy sculptures of saints. MORE