Capodimonte Museum in Naples, Italy, exhibitions and photos

Capodimonte Museum – palace and art gallery

The National Museum of Capodimonte is the second, after the Archaeological Museum, super-museum of Naples. It is based on the famous collection of the Farnese, the Dukes of Parma and Piacenza. In addition to the collection of paintings, you can admire the magnificent palace interiors and the collection of porcelain.

History of the museum

Capodimonte is a high hill located at some distance from the historic center of Naples. King Charles III of Bourbon, who loved to hunt in this area, ordered a royal residence to be built on top of the hill. Thanks to this ambitious, energetic ruler, two new royal palaces were built in Naples: Caserta and Capodimonte, while the Royal Palace in the center of Naples was substantially rebuilt.

The palace of Capodimonte was designed by Giovanni Antonio Madrano, and the park around the palace was arranged by Ferdinando Sanfelice.

Charles III inherited an art collection of great artistic value from his mother, Elisabeth Farnese. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who later became Pope Paul III, started the collection. His grandson, also a cardinal, Alessandro Farnese, greatly added to it. The treasures of this vast collection of masterpieces were enough to fill two museums in Naples: the Greco-Roman sculptures of the Farnese collection were housed in the Archaeological Museum of Naples and the paintings in Capodimonte.

In 1738 Charles III of Bourbon married the Saxon princess Maria Amalia, granddaughter of Augustus the Strong . Under Augustus the Strong the secret of porcelain was discovered and a famous porcelain manufactory was established in Meissen.

The Royal Porcelain Factory was also built in Naples . The architect Sanfelice placed it near the Palace of Capodimonte. This factory, in particular, produced parts of the Queen’s Porcelain Salon, the most stunning room of the Capodimonte Palace.

Subsequently the palace has been rebuilt several times, its collections have been multiplied and even a section of modern art has emerged.

How to reach Capodimonte

Address of the museum: via Miano 2

Buses go to Palazzo Capodimonte number 168, 178, R4, C63. The buses stop near the Archaeological Museum. A single ticket for 1 euro is acceptable.

The Citysightseeing Napoli shuttle bus runs to the museum once an hour. The price of the ticket – 12 euros – includes travel to and from the museum and a visit to the museum.

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The royal palace at Capodimonte looks very similar to both Palazzo Reale and Reggia di Caserta: elongated, squat, terracotta-colored with dark gray edging.

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Inside the building are three square courtyards. The entrance to the ticket office is from the courtyard.

Museum hours – 08.30 – 19.30, the day off – Wednesday. The cost of the ticket – 8 euros.

Museum tour

Despite the fact that the museum is open late, I still highly recommend this museum to look at on a “fresh head”, you should not put it second after visiting the Archaeological Museum or walking around the Decumanas. The art gallery contains numerous masterpieces and requires a fresh perception.

The core of the museum consists of several collections, and the paintings in the halls are grouped primarily not by author or country, but by collection. First comes the Farnese collection, and literally from the first halls you get into the most rarefied layers of high art. Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Lippi, Botticelli¸ El Greco. Then for a while the degree drops. You move on to the next collection, the Bourbons, the Borgias or the d’Avalos, and it starts again: Titian, Caravaggio and other titans.

So, here we go. In the first rooms we see portraits of the main collectors of the collection, Farnese’s grandfather and grandson.

The portrait of Cardinal Allesandro Farnese was painted by Raphael in 1509-1511. In 1534, the cardinal became Pope Paul III.

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And this is also Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, only his grandson. Titian painted him as such in 1545-46.

Allessandro Farnese

And in this famous painting, grandfather and grandson are depicted together.

Titian’s Pope Paul III with Alessandro and Ottavio Farnese, 1546.

Allessandro Farnese

Michelangelo’s Venus with Cupid (excerpt)

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El Greco’s “Portrait of Giulio Clovio”.

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The painter Giulio Clovio, the creator of the unique manuscript of the Farnese Clocks, played a significant role in the fate of the young Greek Domenico Theotokopoulos (the future El Greco) – it was he who introduced him to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, and in the cardinal’s palace the budding artist received shelter and support.

In the Capodimonte Gallery

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In addition to paintings, there are many works of applied art

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Stone inlay

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Bernardino Luini’s Madonna and Child

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Luini was considered a disciple and imitator of Leonardo da Vinci.

I was fascinated by his Madonna. What a warm, lively face!

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Jacob van Ost, “Adoration of the Child.”

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Even the notes are meticulously rendered.

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The interiors of the Capodimonte Palace

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A porcelain-rimmed mirror.

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Where would one go without a presepe!

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The porcelain or Chinese salon is the “jewel” of the Capodimonte Palace. The surfaces of the walls and ceiling of this small room are covered with colored porcelain and painted stucco.

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Two portraits by François Gérard: the Emperor Napoleon

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and his brave commander Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s son-in-law who was for a time the acting king in the Kingdom of Naples

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Letizia Ramolino Buonaparte, mother of Napoleon. Work by sculptor Antonio Canova.

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A woman of extraordinary destiny. Married at 13 to assessor Charles Buonaparte, she was widowed at 35, giving birth to 13 children.

In hardship and privation she raised her children, of whom eight survived. All of these children, who survived to adulthood, later became kings and dukes, thanks to the most energetic of them, her second son – Napoleon, who became emperor of France.

She lived until the overthrow of Napoleon, and she outlived her son, who died on St. Helena, by 15 years. In Rome, Palazzo Bonaparte, the house where the great man’s mother spent her last years, is preserved in Piazza Venezia.

A few more words about the sculptor Canova. Napoleon made extensive use of the talent of this Italian sculptor to exalt himself and his family. Suffice it to recall a nude sculpture of the emperor himself (in Milan at the Brera Museum) or the lovely Pauline Bonaparte (a copy can be seen in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow). However, after the expulsion of Napoleon’s army from Italy, it was Antonio Canova who made every effort to bring the masterpieces exported on Napoleon’s orders back to Italy. In gratitude for this, Canova’s name is inscribed in the Golden Book of the Capitol.

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Civorium (bronze, copper, marble)

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Hall of Tapestries (D’Avalos Collection)

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Colantonio’s “Life of St. Vicenzo”

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Amphorae and Furs for Wine

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On the top floor, several rooms are devoted to contemporary art. In particular, Andy Warhol’s famous work “Vesuvius” hangs there.

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We spent about three hours in the museum.

Capodimonte Park

The palace is surrounded by a park, but the park can hardly be called interesting. It is simply a green area of the city with many walkers.

There is a beautiful fountain near the palace.

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A view of the nearby hill and the castle of Sant’Elmo

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At the foot of the hill of Capodimonte stands the Basilica dell Incoronata.

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Next to the basilica is the entrance to the catacombs of San Gennaro.

To get from the Museum of Capodimonte to the Catacombs of San Gennaro, you have to walk along the street (which took the bus up to the museum) for a while and then go down the stairs.

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The Capodimonte Museum is certainly one of the main attractions in Naples, and should be visited whenever possible. In my story I have shown only a small part of its treasures. I should have mentioned that Capodimonte houses Titian’s Danaë (one of the four), Brueghel’s Misanthrope and the Parable of the Blind, Botticelli’s Virgin with Babes and Angels, paintings by Van Gogh, Ribera and other masterpieces.

Unfortunately the location of the museum is not very convenient, you have to take a public bus, which in my opinion is the most unsafe form of transportation in this city. Be careful with your belongings.

We will talk about the dangers for tourists in Naples in the next article.

National Museum and Gallery of Capodimonte

Capodimonte National Museum and Gallery

Adults €12 (permanent and temporary exhibitions); concessionary €2 (for visitors from 18 to 25); pensioners and visitors under 18 free.

Capodimonte National Museum and Gallery is the main municipal museum and art gallery of Naples. Located in a palace that formerly belonged to the Bourbons and served as their summer residence, in the city park on the hill of Capodimonte.

The museum is one of the largest in Italy and is the main repository of Neapolitan paintings and arts and crafts. In order to see all the collections, you need to go around more than a hundred rooms, so many tourists take a whole day to visit the museum. Besides the interior exposition, you can enjoy the historical park of 120 hectares around the museum and the views from the hill of Capodimonte to the whole Naples.

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Charles III of Bourbon liked to hunt near the high hill, some distance from the center of Naples. Thanks to this, a royal residence was built on top of Capodimonte, the architect being Giovanni Antonio Madrano. Charles inherited a magnificent collection of works of art from his mother, Elisabeth Farnese. And the beginning of this collection was laid by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who later became Pope Paul III, and his grandson, also a cardinal and also Alessandro Farnese.

The halls of the museum are stunningly decorated

When the Royal Porcelain Factory was built in Naples, it was placed near the palace. And it was at this factory that the details of the porcelain room – the salon of Charles III’s wife, Maria Amalia – were made.

Over the years, the palace has been expanded and rebuilt, and its collection of works of art has grown. Today, the gallery even has a modern art section.

Exhibits

The art gallery is made up of several collections, so the paintings in the halls are grouped not by country or author, but by collection. In the first rooms of the gallery is the Farnese collection. There are paintings by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Lippi, Botticelli, and El Greco. They were transferred to the palace during its construction at the request of Charles.

The Porcelain Room

Here, on the first floor of the museum, are the famous royal apartments: paintings, exquisite furniture, valuable household items. All this clearly shows the historical stages and development of fine art in Naples and in Capodimonte, starting from the time of the Bourbons, moving smoothly to the Napoleonic luxury of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte, and ending with the period of the Savoy Kings.

The famous porcelain room is on the first floor of the palace. The Porcelain Salon is the “jewel” of the Capodimonte Palace. The entire surface of the walls and ceiling of this small room is covered with colorful porcelain and painted stucco. All of them are made in the Chinese style, hence the room is called Chinese.

Sculpture groups

The second floor of the palace, which during the Bourbon period was occupied by the servants, is now reserved for the collections of the Neapolitan Gallery. Here are tapestries, paintings and sculptures by local and visiting artists. But they all have one thing in common: they reflect the artistic history of Naples from the twelfth to the eighteenth century.

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On the third floor of the museum there are several rooms dedicated to contemporary art. For example, you can see Andy Warhol’s famous painting Vesuvius.

The exposition includes not only paintings. The museum has an extensive collection of historical firearms and other weapons, many bronze and ivory items. Antique furniture from the 18th century and a collection of porcelain and majolica from different royal residences are widely represented here.

And underneath the palace itself there are the catacombs of San Gennaro, dating back to the II century, where the body of St. Januarius is located.

One of the halls

Tickets

Buy tickets for the National Museum and the Capodimonte Gallery during a visit at the museum ticket office or buy them in advance on the official museum website. Here you can also find current exhibitions, news and important announcements.

The price of an ordinary ticket for an adult is 12 €. The price includes the permanent exhibition and exhibitions taking place in the museum. Entrance at a discount of 2 € is available for ages 18 to 25. Visitors under 18 years of age can stay free of charge. In addition, the museum has quite a few categories eligible for free admission. A complete list can be found on the official website of the Galleria Capodimonte.

How to get there

You can get to the museum by a special Citysightseeing Napoli shuttle bus from Piazza Trieste and Trento. The bus starts at 9:15 am and leaves every hour. The last trip the bus makes at 6:15 p.m. in the summer season and at 5:15 p.m. in the winter season. If you buy round-trip tickets, you can get a discount for the museum if you show the bus tickets at the museum ticket office.

In addition to the shuttle, buses Nos. 168, 178, R4, and C63 go to the Capodimonte Palace. The bus stop for boarding is near the Archaeological Museum, and you must get off at the same name with the museum – “Museo Di Capodimonte”.

You can take a cab, using the services of Driver Taxi Napoli, Consortaxi, Taxi Napoli Epomeo, Lietotravel, Taxi Tour Napoli.

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