There are no elements to allow attribution or a date for this painting representing the Pietà. The author was presumably a mediocre Neapolitan mannerist, and the work was created before 1590. It was around this date, according to the remarkable story of the historian d’Engenio Caracciolo, that the first miracle worked by the sacred image took place. The oval is framed in a fine starburst of stucco angels by Paolo Persico in 1769.
Much more than for its artistic quality, the Pietà is important because of the role it had in the foundation of the di Sangro Chapel. It was around this painting, in fact, that at the end of the sixteenth century, the Duke of Torremaggiore Giovan Francesco would build the first chapel, the enlargement of which would lead to the construction of Santa Maria della Pietà, the Sansevero Chapel’s other name. During the whole of the seventeenth century, the painting must have been in the place occupied by the Deposition, and it was Raimondo di Sangro who moved it up over the Altar and inserted it in Persico’s starburst.