The History

 

The Museum of Capodimonte is housed in the homonymous palace, an imposing building surrounded by a beautiful park, which was commissioned to Giovanni Antonio Medrano by king Charles of Bourbon. In 1734, the king decided to move the collection he inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese, to Naples. The palace, whose construction began in 1738, was chosen for the permanent arrangement of the collection. In 1758, twenty years later, twelve rooms on the piano nobile were ready to house the collection of paintings.

From 1758 to 1806, the historical and artistic cores of the Farnese collection, which Carlo di Borbone had inherited from his mother Elisabetta, the last descendant of the Family, and that had reached Naples from the formerly Farnese estates of Parma and Piacenza, and from the Roman palace of the family, were placed in the Neapolitan palace.

With the transfer of all the collections of art in the Palace of the Studies, current National Archaeological Museum , happened during French decade ( 1806-15 ), the Reggia became residence of Giuseppe Bonaparte and of Gioacchino Murat . The residential function comes confirmed from Ferdinand , returned from the sicilian exile in 1815 , that it undertakes new jobs in the palace and the park.

The destiny of the Reggia did not change with the accession of the Savoia family, after the reunion of Italy. At the end of the eighteenth century, a true Gallery of Modern Art, made up of paintings and sculptures by living Neapolitan artists, was created in some halls of the palace.

In 1920, the palace passed from the Crown to the State property. The revival of its exhibit function took place in 1957, when, after the necessary works of restructure and functional adjustment, the “Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte” opened to the public.


The Museum


The Farnese collection

The  origin of the collection (1468-1549), must to do to the political action and the cultural choices of Alessandro Farnese (Pope with the name of Paul III) .

Comprehensive of the greater Italian and European works of painting is the fundamental axis of the collections of the Museum . Inherited from Carlo di Borbone it came placed in the course of the 1700's in the Reggia of Capodimonte and transferred at the beginning of the 1800's in the Real Museum, today National  Archaeological Museum, in 1957 it came brought back to Capodimonte. This  had become rich in the course of approximately two centuries of important acquisitions happened to the Borbone age.

The collections go therefore on two distinguished branches: the Roman collection, comprehensive of more works that artists legacies to the Farnese from relationships of customer ( Raffaello , Sebastiano Del Piombo , Tiziano , El Greco , the Carracci brothers, Botticelli ) and conserved in the palace of Family near Campo dei Fiori; and the Parmesan collection exposed at the end of  1600's in the palace of the Pilotta in Parma, with one important presence of works of emilian school, let alone a great number of flemish paintings.

The Roman collection

At the dead  of Paul III in the 1549 politics of increment of the collections come continued by the grandsons Alexander ( 1520-1589 ) and Ranuccio ( 1530-1565 ), both cardinals. In particular, the first one confers ulterior impulse to the collections, surrounding himself of a formation of artists (from Michelangelo to Tiziano , from El Greco to Bertoja , Salviati to Guglielmo Della Porta ), whose works today constitute the essence of the collection. Cardinal Odoardo ( 1573-1626 ) carries out new acquisitions, demands works of art from the Parmesans property , becomes in the 1600 beneficiary of the collection of Fulvio Orsini , librarian and artistic councilman of the uncle Alexander . After its dead , in the 1626 , the Palace slowly remains uninhabited and empty; remains the great statuaria , the antiquity collections - than the cardinal Alexander it had legacy to the building - let alone a residual number of paintings that thought of smaller interest for the collection Parmesan who went itself constituting in the emilian duchy  in the second half of the 1600's.

The Parmesan collection

With the duke Ranuccio the branch Parmesan of the collection acquires greater thickness. The inventory of its assets, written up in the 1587 , lists a group of forty  pictures, for more than school Parmesan between which " the Galeazzo Sanvitale " of the Parmigianino and " the Zingarella " of the Correggio . A decisive increment happens with the requisitions of the assets of feudatari rebels ( 1611 ), when they reach in the collections of family painted of Giulio Romano, of the Correggio , and  Bruegel While despoliation of the Roman collection continues , in the palace of the Garden of Parma, of recent restored, meets a considerable patrimony of art of extreme importance. In the last decade of the century, Ranuccio II (1646-1694 ) matured the idea to transfer the best pieces  of this collection in " a Gallery " devised in the cinquecento Palace of the Pilotta in Parma , where 329 paintings find placing . The successories of Ranuccio II , Francisco ( 1694-1727 ) and Antonio ( 1727-1731 ), increased the collections with one series of purchases carried out from the territory of the Duchy. Great part of this material, constituted gives beyond 170 paintings , meets in the Apartment of the Pictures , other expositive nucleus, distributed in six rooms. Between the paintings, many burlaps of clear ecclesiastic origin. The last one duke of Parma, Antonio , dies in 1731. It succeeds Carlo di Borbone , son of Filippo V king of Spain and Elisabetta Farnese . From the mother he inherited, beyond to the title, the immense artistic patrimony of family. Entered in Naples in 1734 , it arranges to the transfer  all the collections of family conserved in the palaces of the Ducato of Parma and Piacenza, in the Capital of its new Reign.

 

The Borbone collection

With the patrimony of art inherited from the Farnese, the collectionistic activity of Carlo di Borbone is not get exausted , of his son Ferdinand IV , and  their descendants. A Coleccionism that feeds various formulas second: or with a relationship of directed customer to painters, at least to the not Neapolitan origin of prevalence, which the task is demanded to furnish (with views, landscapes, representation of customs and popular life, let alone portraits and celebrative images of the reigning monarchy) the more real situated important, between which the Reggia di Capodimonte ; or feeding, above all after the transfer of all the collections of art and antiquity in the Real Borbonico Museum , the acquisition of works of the past, to integrate how much already were possessed for hereditary right from the Farnese family. To Capodimonte , the collections entrusting to painters, of preference not Neapolitan, the celebrative images of the dynasty increase. In the years of Carl ( 1734-1759 ) and in those of Ferdinand they work for the Short artists like Giovanni Paolo Pannini , Francisco Liani , Raphael Mengs , Philipp Hackert , Angelika Kauffmann and Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun .

Beyond recovering to Rome the booty of art depredated from the French in the Reggia di Capodimonte , during convulse the facts of 1799 , the Borbone has way to acquire a important number of paintings , between which " the Atalanta and Ippomene " di Guido Kidneys and " the Landscape with the nymph Egeria " from Lorrain . Sent to Naples , these works find placing, between 1801 and 1805 , in the Gallery of the Palace of Prince di Francavilla to Chiaia . During the French decade, re-united all the collections of art and antiquity in the Palace of the Studies , the greater increments later on have to the expropriations of the patrimony of churches and convents deleted, with prevalence of works of artists of southern school.

In 1814 the negotiation, defined in 1817 set offs then , for the purchase of the articulated collections of the Cardinal Stefano Borgia (the so-called Museum of Velletri ). With this acquisition art objects enter in the borbonic western oriental collections  and,  archaeological and medioevali hand-made and modern works, like the famous "  Sant' Eufemia " from Mantegna

From the second borbonic Restoration until the continuous Unit, the increment of the collections, with one series of acquisitions of single works, for more than Neapolitan artists or flamish, and of entire collections. Worthy of meaning the  famous collection of Domenico Barbaja,1842 , manager of the Theatre of San Carlo , from which he arrives, between the others, " the Sacred Conversation " of Palma the Old one .

 

 

At the date of the 1799 the Gallery of Capodimonte counts 1783 paintings . To the original nucleus of Farnese origin they were assistants, beyond to court paintings, also a consisting number of works of Neapolitan artists, reached Capodimonte , probably through donations or purchases.

Other purchases, made during the expositions of the  Real Istituto di Belle Arti , went to the Gallery of Modern Art that  Annibale Sacco , Director of the  Real Casa Savoia, founded in the  Palazzo di Capodimonte between 1864 and 1884

At the Unit, the collections of Modern and Medieval Art of the Ancient Reign of the Two Sicilies, are divided in two separated branches.

One the Reggia di Capodimonte , destined as residence of  Casa Savoia, where the manager of the Royal House, Annibale Sacco , organised a real Museum costituted from the objects (weapons, biscuits, porcelains, tapestries) coming from the borbonic palaces, and a  Gallery of Modern Art , constituted by paintings of lively artists most of them from Naples.

On the other side the National Museum , ex Real Borbonic Museum , depending by the Minister of the Public Instruction, where the collection were increased by purchases and legacy.

The famous "Crocefissione" by Masaccio and the wonderful  "Ritratto di Luca Pacioli "by Jacopo de' Barbari were bought in 1901 and in 1903.

In  1926, 138 paintings were removed to  Parma as  a compensation of the supposed "usurpations" done by  Carlo di Borbone two centuries ago. After the second world war there were more purchases when  Bruno Molajoli set up the Museum and the National Galleries of Capodimonte . In 1862 Alfonso d'Avalos , the last descendant of the branch of Vasto , Pescara , Francavilla , Troia e Montesarchio , let his collection to the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Napoli

A precious piece of the collection  is the sequence of seven Flemish tapestries from  Cinquecento, they show episodes from the   "Battle of  Pavia " from 1525 , with the imperial troops of  Carlo V , commanded by Ferrante d'Avalos , victorious on the French army of  Francesco I .

Other pieces of the collection are: paintings, embroideries, miniatures, weapons, prints, works of the great Neapolitan  seicentisti  ( Ribera , Pacecco , Vaccaro , Giordano ), and  Abraham Brueghel as well as the familiar portraits collection.

 

In  1957  the new Museum were opened and,  the year after,  Mario De Ciccio presented more than  1300 precious objects, porcelains and majolicas that he had collected in more than fifty years. In  1960  the rich collection of the Banco di Napoli were transferred in Capodimonte, there were wonderful pieces from the Neapolitan Ottocento Painters.

The Royal Palace of Capodimonte

The Museum and the National Gallery of Capodimonte

Address: Via Miano 2, Porta Piccola, Via Capodimonte, Naples, Italy
Phone: 848/800288 (+39 06 39 96 70 50) information and bookings for special exhibitions

Botticelli - Madonna col Bambino e angeli -  Our Lady, the Infant Jesus and angels - 1465 - 1469El Greco - El soplòn 1575Caravaggio - Flagellation - 1607 1609Flemish Tapestry - The capture of Francis I, King of FranceGiacinto Gigante - Storm over the Amalfi's gulf 1837Angelica Kauffman - Ferdinando IV, King of Naples, and his family 1782 - 1783Masaccio - Crocifissione - The Crucifixion - 1426

Masaccio - The Crucifixion  - 1426

Botticelli - Our Lady, the Infant Jesus and angels   -1465 - 1469

Raffaello Sanzio (Rafael) - Ritratto del cardinale  Alessandro Farnese, futuro Papa Paolo III 1509 - 1511

Raffaello Sanzio (Rafael) - Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (Pope Paul III) - 1509/11

Parmigianino - Antea - 1530 1535

Parmigianino - Antea 1530 - 1535

Tiziano Vecellio (Titian) - Danae 1544 - 1546

Titian - Danae 1544 - 1546

Flemish tapestry - The capture of Francis I, King of France - 1528 / 1530 

Pieter Bruegel - the parable of blind men - 1568

Pieter Bruegel - the parable of blind men - 1568

Giacinto Gigante - Storm over the Amalfi’s gulf 1837

El greco   El Soplòn 1575

Caravaggio -  Flagellation 1607 - 1609

Angelica Kauffman -  Ferdinand IV, King of Naples, and his family  1782 - 1783

artmisia gentilesci - giuditta e and oloferne

Artemisia Gentileschi - Giuditta & Oloferne 1625-1630

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