This monument commemorates Geronima Loffredo, paternal grandmother of Raimondo di Sangro. Self-control is a statue designed by Queirolo but which he could not make, because his relationship with the Prince of Sansevero soured, as evidenced by the signature of Francesco Celebrano on a document stating that he was a sculptor and not an inventor.
The symbol of the strength of character of the deceased, “never defeated by hostile destiny nor too exalted by fortune”, is this Roman soldier with a tame lion on a chain, almost hypnotised by the man’s gaze: intellect and will thus prevail over instinct, savage energy and the vanity of the passions.
The purely artistic result of this work is not to a very high level, the artistic outcome of this work is not of a particularly high level, and Raimondo di Sangro named it in his will as one of the few pieces in the Chapel that he wished to have redone by a more skilled artist. In Self-control, Celebrano shows his tendency to decorativism, interpreting Queirolo’s clay model without pathos. Two putti and a medallion with the profile of Geronima Loffredo complete the work. The memorial plaque dates from 1759.
The subject of control over the passions is a classical theme of eighteenth-century Freemasonry, as well as an inescapable stage in any initiation process. In the iconography of the alchemists, the lion is sometimes symbol of primal matter, and sometimes – as with the “red” lion – the realisation of the philosopher’s stone.