One of the Upper Belvedere’s glittering highlights is the octagonal Palace Chapel in the south-eastern corner tower.
The two storeys of the central room followed aristocratic rules and mirrored social hierarchy. Palace staff would gather on the ground floor while the balcony on the piano nobile was exclusively for the illustrious owner. An engraving by Salomon Kleiner dating from the 1730s reveals that the chapel has been largely preserved in its original condition. Eight herm pilasters in the corners give structure to the steep proportions of the interior and large rectangular windows provide a source of light. The reddish-brown stucco marble, gilded stucco, and frescoed ceiling echo the decoration of the two marble halls. The altarpiece is also exquisite and shows the Resurrection of Christ by Francesco Solimena, one of the greatest exponents of Neapolitan Baroque art. Commissioned by Prince Eugene, Solimena started work in 1720 but it took ten years for this meticulous artist to complete the painting.
Rounding off the ensemble are two larger-than-life-sized guardian sculptures of the apostles John and Peter. As comparable works are lacking, it has not been possible to establish whether the apostles were the work of the Genoese sculptor Domenico Parodi or of his assistants. Surmounting the array of artworks, a ceiling fresco by Carlo Innocenzo Carlone depicts the Holy Trinity against a backdrop of the heavens.
Holy mass: every Sunday at 12pm
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