April 21, 2021

Italian Sculptor Carves a Whole Net Out of Marble – the Results Look Unreal

Centuries ago, sculptors were using marble to express their artistic skills. These artist often select complicated objects that require a certain level of expertise. These challenging motifs used include anatomical details, dynamic drapery or in this case of Il Disinganno, even delicate netting. Every peace of this amazing sculpture was carved out of marble, including the tiny details on the crafted knots in the draping net wrapped around the large figure of a fisherman.

Il Disinganno, also known as The Release from Deception, was crafted by Genoese artist Francesco Queirolo in the 18th century. This was the sculpture that solidified his legacy as one of the Italy’s 8th-century artists.

‘The Release from Deception’ (1754) by Francesco Queirolo

The Release from Deception depicts a scene that is both biblical and allegorical. It features two subjects: an angel and a fisherman. The angel stands on a globe as he untangles the man from a net and floats above exquisite drapery.

According to the Museo Capella Sansevero ( Sansevero Chapel Museum) the net symbolizes the sin. In this case the angel is freeing the man from his wrongdoings and introduces him to the bible, which rests at his feet. In order to highlight the idea of liberation, the artist put a passage on the open book that reads: “I will break thy chain, the chain of the darkness and long night of which thou art a slave so that thou might not be condemned with this world.”

As for the secular symbolism, we can read the sculpture in another way. For example the flame on the angel’s head represents human intellect, while the globe signifies worldly passions. These elements used coincide with Rimondo’s dedication to his father, which explores the idea of the human fragility, that no great virtues are known without vice.

The Marble Net

When it comes to the marble net , its symbolism it’s compelling. The Release from Deception‘s sculptural details—namely, its exquisitely carved net—that has captivated viewers for centuries. Though, at first glance, this structure appears to be composed of intertwined rope, a closer look reveals that the open-mesh material is made entirely from a single block of marble.

It reportedly took Queirolo seven years to fabricate the marble net, which he handcrafted. It was noted that even the most specialize sculptors refused to touch the delicate net in case it broke into pieces in their hand.

Undoubtedly his hard work paid off. Thanks to this amazing net sculpture, The Release from Deception has assembled the artist praise for more than 250 years.

Image credits: museosansevero

Image credits: museosansevero

Queirolo completed The Release from Deception in 1754.  The masterpiece was commissioned by Raimondo di Sangro, an Italian nobleman, and was intended to adorn the recently reconstructed Sanseveri Chapel in Naples.

Built by John Francesco di Sangro in the late 16th century, the chapel became a family burial site in 1613. To memorialize those laid to rest on site, living family members would commission contemporary sculptors to design tributes to the dead. The Release from Deception was created to honor Raimondo’s father: Antonio di Sangro, the Duke of Torremaggiore.

Image credits: museocappellasansevero

Believe it or not, The Release from Deception is not the only highlight of the Sansevero Chapel. Within its walls are 30 other works of art, including two prominent pieces.

Just like The Release from Deception, these pieces purposely feature details that prove the sculptors’ skills. In these cases, each artist opted to include a veil, a motif that ambitious artists have employed since ancient times, and like the delicate netting of The Release from Deception, will undoubtedly inspire visitors to the Sansevero Chapel Museum for years to come.