(The Cathedral)

Following the interesting period of Catalonian art (1380-1435), Naples participated in the artistic Renaissance later than Florence, the credle of Humanism. In 1442, the kingdom passed under the rule of Aragonese dynasty. Alphonse V, faithful to the Humanistic credo, wanted the city embellished with civic buildings and enclosed by new city walls. The participation of local artists was limited, while great was the influx of Tuscan artists called by the king and protected by Florentine merchants and bankers. The Carafa and Cuomo Palaces, fine examples of civic architecture, date from this period and can still be seen in the Old City.
Beginning in 1506, Naples passed under the domination of Spain and became seat of Viceroy, but despite its subjection, the city changed and expanded. The famous via Toledo (today via Roma) was opened and buildings and churches befitting a capital were erected as this time. In spite of all this activity, the art of this period was not original, and Classicism and Mannerism were absorbed only second-hand through the influence and presence of Lombard, Roman and Tuscan artists who in their workshops taught the young Neapolitan apprentices, who asearly as 1610 began to develope the Baroque style which became popular in the 17th century and was to alter the appearance of the city.
Although the decorative arts and painting were caught up in imitations of Tuscan and Roman Mannerism and never succeded in developing a vision of their own, sculpture, on the other hand, with two great personalities; Giovanni da Nola and Girolamo Santacroce, was able to overcome the external influence and express an autonomous vision which paved the way for the next great style: the Baroque.

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