The rich symbolism of the works in the Sansevero Chapel, whose complexity does not make them suited to a clear and unequivocal interpretation, does not explain the meaning of di Sangro’s project. As well as being a Temple of the Virtues and a home of philosophy, the Sansevero Chapel is also, and above all, a monument meant to exalt the rank of the Sansevero household, and immortalise the glory of its members. It should not be forgotten, furthermore, that when he commissioned the work, Raimondo di Sangro bore in mind the long theoretical, plastic and figurative tradition that had preceded him. The most obvious example being that almost all the allegories of the Virtues take as their model the iconographic principles of Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia (1593), a work for which – by no coincidence – di Sangro himself had financed a monumental new edition in five volumes. However, the Sansevero Virtues never imitate the model slavishly. Indeed they enrich it, modifying it and departing from it in many details, but always significantly.
The creative interaction between Raimondo di Sangro and his artists has made the Sansevero Chapel an inimitable place of art, magnificence and awe, and to it the Prince dedicated much of his life and wealth.
An example of the care he lavished on each detail of his fascinating project is the fact that he left instructions in his will that his heirs should alter nothing of the layout and the symbolic display that he had conceived. For this reason it may be categorically stated that the Sansevero Chapel constitutes, more than any of his other inventions or literary works, the message that Raimondo di Sangro has left to posterity.