An enigmatic bossage of the church of Gesù Nuovo

Bossage Gesù Nuovo Church Naples

The Gesù Nuovo church, so called Trinità Maggiore, is a monumental temple in Naples, one of the eldest and most relevant. A facade of the church remains shrouded in secrecy.

The construction of the Gesù Nuovo church was supported by many famous artists, exponents of so-called scuola napoletana, that provided their services for its copletion. The shrine is located on a former edifice: it was indeed built between 1584 and 1601 in place of the old Sansevero residence. Alternate and sad vicissitudes of Sansevero family caused an assignment of their property to Jesuits.

Jesuits ordered a complete restructuring of the palace that embraced both internal part and gardens, though a bossage facade and a marble portal in Renaissance style remained intact.

A boss is a pyramid-shaped stone, a widespread type of decoration in Venetian Renaissance. The bossage of Gesù Nuovo church is made from so-called piperno, a volcanic rock used in former Neapolitan construction. The stones show bizarre engravings that probably served to distinguish different groups of workers.

According to a legend, in Renaissance existed some stonecutters able to fill in the stones with positive energy and to take away the negative one. The signs engraved on each pyramid-shaped stone (their particular disposition suggests secret interpretation) became a theme to an interesting legend. Nevertheless, elements of the bossage had not been disposed in the right order and it provoked the contrary effect, attracting all sorts of misfortune.

In 2010 a group of specialists in art history and musicology discovered that the letters engraved on the bossage could be actually a musical score to read from the left to the right and bottom-up. It is probably a concert for plectrum instruments that lasts almost 45 minutes and was called Enigma by scientists who decoded it.

Tags: Art and Culture, Architecture, Itineraries