The Capodimonte Porcelain Museum in Naples is one of the most prominent and historically significant cultural attractions in the capital of the Campania region. Not only is the extensive collection of Neapolitan visual arts of prime interest, but so too is the Bourbon Palace of Capodimonte, in which the National Museumo of Capodimonte resides. The museum is the main repository for paintings by Neapolitan artists. It also serves as the home of some very important works by painters from other Italian schools as well as several significant sculptures from the time of the ancient Romans. Of course the Museo di Capodimonte also features a stunning collection of porcelain and majolica (ceramics from Renaissance Italy). If you appreciate museums and are planning a trip to Naples, this is one that you will certainly not want to miss out on.
The Museo di Capodimonte was born from an earlier idea by King Charles VII of Sicily and Naples to erect a hunting lodge on the hill at Capodimonte. He then changed his mind and instead decided to build a grand palace, as his Palace of Portici was beginning to be small for his expanding court, and also because he wished to have a place to house his mother’s (Elisabetta Farnese) vast art collection. The king also gave rise to what would become the Capodimonte Porcelain Museum in Naples (housed in the same building) when he built the Capodimonte workshops with an eye to developing a high-end local trade. The ceramics that were produced were the precursor for what would become a worldwide, successful industry in Naples.
And although the porcelain is a must see at the National Museum of Capodimonte, it is highly recommended (especially if you only have a short period of time) that you start on the second-floor Farnese Gallery, where you will discover seminal works by some of the greatest Italian artists of all time. The list of these legendary artists includes Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Caravaggisti. You will be truly impressed by the range of thirteenth through eighteenth-century paintings that rival many of the best works in the likes of the Vatican Museum in Rome.
After you have thoroughly explored the Farnese Gallery at the National Museum of Capodimonte, you should check out the Royal Apartments, also on the second floor. The mezzanine level is home to a variety of other beautiful paintings as well as the spectacular Farnese collection of Roman antiquities and sculptures. This is also a must see at the museum.
The Porcelain Gallery at the Museo di Capodimonte is filled with an excellent array of fine pieces, including objects of all varieties from many of the royal palaces around Naples and greater southern Italy. Included in the amazing collection at the Capodimonte Porcelain Museum in Naples are some of the finest works of ceramic art by local artisans. You will be amazed at the exacting detail and beautiful ornamentation of these finely crafted items. The museum is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day of the week except Wednesday. There is a moderate admission fee and the ticket booth closes one hour prior to the museum closing.
Image: hansschnier (flickr)