Art & Culture

The sacred art inside the Museum of Don Clemente Confalone in Maiori 

It is the main museum in the village. In the future, the sacred installation will include multimedia equipment to help people to understand more the precious artworks of the museum.

By Annamaria Parlato, cover photo by Gino Imperato

The valuable treasures of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare in Maiori are kept in the small Don Clemente Confalone Museum. Located right in the Collegiate Church, it opened its doors in 2010 thanks to the former Parish Priest Don Vincenzo Tajani and the then Director-Guardian, the Architect Andrea Macchiarola. Built-in the Collegiate Church’s crypt, it covers an area of 162 square meters, with an adjoining panoramic garden.

The collection

Inside the museum, into two rooms, the permanent exhibition showcases some eighteenth-century statues, such as those depicting Santa Lucia and Sant’Apollonia. We should also mention the reliquary bust of San Trifone, the original statue dedicated to the Madonna dell’Avvocata, the Madonna with Child attributed to the German school of the sixteenth century, and a splendid Madonna in Gloria by Diego de Silóe by Ferdinando Bologna. The collection also includes the alabaster paliotto with bas-relief gothic figures of the 15th century from the English school, a bone box from the Embriachi workshop containing sacred relics from the end of the 14th century. In addition to these antiphonaries, eighteenth-century canvases, busts of saints, and numerous other silver artifacts which, although not stamped or identified, constitute a precious testimony of Neapolitan goldsmith art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These include a professional cross, a large and a small monstrance, a throne for the Blessed Sacrament exposition, a crown, a bucket, an altar cross, a pair of chalices signed BG, the initials of Biagio Giordano, famous Neapolitan silversmith. He was elected Consul in Naples in 1774 and 1790.

The sacred artwork of the Museum Don Clemente Confalone in Maiori

The paliotto in alabaster and the Cassettina degli Embriachi: the most interesting artistic testimonies

One of the Amalfi Coast’s most precious artifacts is the 15th-century alabaster paliotto (an artwork placed on the front and the side part of an altar). It is a work of extraordinary value since, in southern Italy, there are only two other specimens of the kind. The paliotto is made up of seven alabaster tablets carved with reliefs depicting Saint Margaret on the right and Saint James on the left, while, in the central panels are the scenes of the Annunciation, the Nativity with the Adoration of the Magi, the Resurrection of Jesus, the Assumption of the Virgin and the Coronation of Mary. Each tablet has an inscription of recognition in an abbreviated Gothic font, affixed under every single scene. Although it is damaged in some places, the polyptych still retains all its original polychrome. On the other hand, the little box is made of bleached ox bone and can be traced back to the Embriachi workshop. The container is made up of six panels depicting the legend of the “Queen Star and the Mattabruna” arranged in pairs on the long sides, the other two occupying the short sides. The lid is in the shape of a pagoda. In the most rounded part, it has lamellae depicting two pairs of aligned angels, and on the short part, two angels facing each other, whose construction refers to classical models.

Future innovations

From 2015 to today, Giuseppe Roggi is the new Director of the Museum. He has tried in recent years to promote and enhance the excellent maiorese cultural heritage. « I took care of the rearrangement of the lighting design of the rooms and shop windows, -he explains-. Now the low energy consumption lights bring out the works at their best. Since 2015 we have reached about 15,000 visitors, and this summer, despite the covid-19, even 40 daily visitors. I am fighting for this jewel to be included in the Campania Region’s promotion circuits’ cultural heritage. It is not easy to run a museum, especially because I am alone and without funding. I also need the help of local institutions to improve this beautiful cultural place, and many future initiatives could be implemented by networking».

The cross, the statues of the saints, and other religious images

The faith within

Today’s museum is a repository of living objects that also contain a Christian message to those who seek the Divine through the beauty of art and the sense of the faith of the maiorese people. A place to discover and preserve for future generations.

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