Completed British 19th C, except portraits, Continental European after 1800, Scotland: Artists and Subjects 6 Is this a view of the Guglia di San Gennaro?

Study of Naples
Topic: Subject or sitter

Is this a view of the Guglia di San Gennaro, begun in 1637 to the design of Cosimo Fanzago, but only completed in 1660? It is topped by a bronze statue of the city's patron made by Tommaso Montani. It is in the Piazza Cardinale Sisto Riario Sforza. The building behind might be the side of the Duomo.

The road going across our view would be the Via Tribunali (see p.244 of the 1976 Guida d'Italia del Touring Club Italian. Napoli e dintorni.) The Cappella di San Gennaro may be partly visible at the far left.

The collection remarks: It would have to be a very simplified version of the column as it is not as elaborate as the modern images show, although the general appearance of the street is OK. I have searched for other obelisks in Naples without success.

Any further information would be welcome.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Edward Stone,

This discussion is now closed. The painting has been found to depict the Colonna dell’Immacolata – or Column of the Immaculate Conception – from the Via Macherroni, Palermo. It is thought to have been made after 1855. The title and execution date have both been updated accordingly on the Art UK record.

Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


Kieran Owens,

This view is taken from somewhere down the Via Maccherronai, in Palermo, Italy, of the 19th century Colonna dell’Immacolata (Column of the Immaculate Conception), which stands in the Piazza San Domenico in the centre of that city. A Google search for Colonna dell’Immacolata + Palermo will illustrate this without any doubt, but see also the attached image.

Celebrating the recently adopted (1854) Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the column was designed by Luigi Poletti, work was commenced on it in 1855, and it was dedicated by Pope Pio IX in 1857, all of which might help to date this discussion's work.,_Rome

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Kieran Owens,

Also, the fact that this column was not erected until the mid-1850s might help date the other work by Smith, recently under discussion, of the front of Palermo Cathedral.

Agreed. I think the image is approximately from the Via Macherroni. I will alter records to Colonna dell’Immacolata (Column of the Immaculate Conception) Palermo. with a date post 1855

Well done Kieran. I am pretty convinced that this is a view of the Colonna dell’Immacolata from the Via Macherroni, Palermo, and am happy to formally recommend this conclusion. I am pleased that the Stirling Smith Art Gallery have accepted this too.

While closing this one (noting that it also gives a rough date for Smith's other studies in Palermo) could we also activate the other four still pending in the 'maritime' box: two are simply confirmations of subject that don't need discussion but there are a couple for which it would help.