Gaetanina Sava ( active in Naples in the first half of the 19th century ), The homage to the princess of Ripa, Maria Zenobia D’Evoli.
Embroidery with oil painting cm 25 x 34. On the lower level, these following information: in the middle, “A S. E. la sig. D. Zenobia Evoli Principessa di Ripa”; on the right: “I lavoro di D. Gaetanina Sava. 30 ottobre 1837”; on the left “Dall’Istituto…”
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A sensitive, educated woman, connected with the intellectuals of his time, but with an human story not particularly happy. The protagonist of this embroidery, extraordinary for the finiteness of the warp technique, capable of displaying all the lenticular details of an interior of a building of ancient nobility of Molise, is Donna Maria Zenobia of Evoli ( Naples 1781-1861 ), daughter of Neapolitan nobleman Carlo, Duke of Castropignano , and Marquis of Frignano Maggiore and Grande of Spain, and Marianna Miroballo, Duchess of Campomele and Baroness of Gricignano.
Like all young women belonging to a family of prominent southern Italy nobility, Maria Zenobia weds an important member of a prominent family of Molise origin, Giovanni Francone, Prince of Ripa and Pietracupa: at the beginning of 1806 their marriage is celebrated in Naples. They will not, however, the time to give continuity to their dynastic line, since the husband of Maria Zenobia died on February 6 of the same year. For this reason, we know with no doubts that the two young ladies portrayed in the artwork may not be the daughters of the couple, given the fact that the princess of Ripa had no sons from John, who had time only to entrust the estate of his property to the nephew Ambrogio Caracciolo, Prince of Torchiarolo, his sister’s son.
The artwork is, therefore, an extremely important document to rebuild the local history of the hinterland of Molise and especially the villages of Ripabottoni, Pietracupa and Salcito, places whose Francone were owners until the final demise of feudalism.
About the membership of Maria Zenobia of some intellectual circles, as well as Gaetanina Sava, author of the embroidery’s composition, we have some documentary references that demonstrate the cultural interests of the two women: the first was one of financier of the literary work “Elements of Universal Geography” printed in Naples in 1823 and edited by Giuseppe Bifulco; the second promoted the publication of “Ethics Drama for the education of youth” written by Giulio Genoino, printed always in the city of Naples in 1841.