Naples, National Museum of Capodimonte
Duration: 2 hours
Until the construction of the Royal Palace, the “Capo di Monte” of Naples was an immense wood where in 1734 Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples, had had a court residence built for his hunting raids. Like many other Bourbons, Carlo loved to go fishing and go hunting and it is thanks to his “bloody” passion that he recovered some important natural areas and built splendid hunting lodges. Not only Capodimonte, therefore, but also the Casina on Lake Fusaro and that of Carditello.
In 1738 the sovereign decided to transform this simple hunting lodge into a palace to house the rich Farnese collection which his mother had given him. The task was entrusted to Giovanni Antonio Medrano, who developed a building with two rigorous Doric facades in which the traditional “Neapolitan red” contrasts with the gray piperno.
The Reggia di Capodimonte today is completely dedicated to its role as a museum, which occupies three floors: on the first floor there is the historical apartment and the rich Farnesiana collection; on the second floor there is the gallery with Neapolitan works from the ‘200 to the’ 700; the third floor displays the collection of nineteenth-century works and contemporary art.
The Farnese Collection and the Bourbon Collection constitute the main nuclei of the Museum but there are works from the great schools of Italian and European painting from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century.
Among the most representative works The Caravaggio’s Flagellation of Christ, the Portrait of Francesco Gonzaga by Andrea Mantegna, Tiziano’s Danae, Luca Giordano’s Madonna del Rosario.
In addition to the Farnese collection, it is possible to admire large-scale works from the churches of Naples and the Kingdom of the two Sicilies (Simone Martini, Colantonio, Caravaggio) and the prestigious D’Avalos and Borgia collections. The latter contains western and eastern art objects mainly from the Middle Ages as well as Egyptian, Etruscan, Volschian, Greek and Roman antiquities.
The museum also offers a section of contemporary art where, among other works, it is possible to admire the well-known Vesuvius painting by Andy Warhol.