Sunday, May 14, 2017

250. And so to Naples ...

After a four week stay in Sofia, Bulgaria, it was time to move on to my next destination - Naples ... and it was a quick Wizz Air flight across the Adriatic to Rome - then an even quicker run down the Italian coast to Napoli ...

... there's something very exciting about zooming along 
at 300 kph in the comfort an Italian train ...

Here I have taken another Airbnb apartment for three weeks in the district of Colli Aminei high above the city - a 20 minute bus or Metro ride away ... and from the park (  just two minute walk from home ) is a magnificent vista over the city to Mount Vesuvius in the near distance - hopefully she'll behave herself during my stay ...
And speaking of Vesuvius, I thought my first port of call had better be the National Archaeological Museum of Naples ... here I am promised one of the most important collections in the world of classical ancient Roman archaeology.


The Museum's collection includes works of the highest quality produced in ancient Greek, Roman and Renaissance times and especially Roman artifacts from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.

Charles of Bourbon founded the museum in the 1750s. The building he used for it had been erected as a cavalry barracks and during its time as the seat of the University of Naples ( from 1616 to 1777 ) – the building was extended in the late 18th century to house an ever increasing collection of ancient artifacts.



The greater part of the museum's classical sculpture collection largely comes from the Farnese Collection, important since they include Roman copies of classical Greek sculpture, which are in many cases the only surviving indications of what the lost works by ancient Greek sculptors such as Calamis, Kritios and Nesiotes looked like.

I do apologize to the readers of this blog and to the Museum and the artists of ancient times, for not including titles, descriptions and credits of the following pieces - my camera has a limited memory capacity and I anticipated a lot of clicks ... you'll just have to use your imagination ...




The items in the collection were acquired or requisitioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who became Pope Paul III ( 1543 – 1549 ). Classical artworks were routinely uncovered in Roman lands, and during the Renaissance had become much desired. Many were family heirlooms of prominent families in Rome.



Alessandro purchased several worthwhile collections, confiscated collection from families that upset him, and received yet more collections as donations from families seeking his favour. Other works were bought in the antiques market, including works that were appearing as part of excavations and construction throughout the city. Michelangelo had designed internal niches to display statuary in the massive Palazzo Farnese ( 1546 ) in Rome.

 
 
 


The Farnese collection was further enlarged by the Pope's nephew, another Cardinal Alessandro, by the purchase of collections. It also included the inheritance left in 1587 by Margaret of Parma, the widow first of Alessandro de Medici and then of Ottavio Farnese. She also possessed a collection of famous engraved gems, which formerly belonged to Lorenzo dei Medici, including the Farnese Cup.



The Farnese family, who had become Dukes of Parma declined till the death of Antonio Farnese of Parma, and thus the collection passed through Elisabetta Farnese, wife of Philip V of Spain, to their son Charles of Bourbon, who became king of Naples and the Two Sicilies in 1734. He in turn decided to move the Parmesan collections to Naples. His son Ferdinand IV of Naples brought the Roman collections to Naples. This occurred in 1787, despite the strong opposition of the Papacy.


 





 

 

 


Artemis of Ephesus - the "great mother goddess"


 


 


 
 




 



 

 
The Secret Cabinet (Gabbinete) or Secret Room is the name of the Bourbon Monarchy gave the private rooms in which they held their fairly extensive collection of erotic or sexual items, mostly deriving from excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Access was limited to only persons of mature age and known morals. After the revolution of 1848, the government of the monarchy even proposed the destruction of objects, fearful of the implications of their ownership, which would tarnish the monarchy with lasciviousness. The then director of the Royal Bourbon Museum instead had access to the collection terminated, and the entrance door was provided with three different locks, whose keys were held respectively by the Director of the Museum, the Museum Controller, and the Palace Butler. The highlight of the censorship occurred in 1851 when even nude Venus statues were locked up, and the entrance walled up in the hope that the collection would vanish from memory.


Censorship persisted in the following years, abating only after 1971 when the Ministry was given the new rules to regulate requests for visits and access to the section. Completely rebuilt a few years ago with all of the new criteria, the collection was finally opened to the public in April 2000. Nowadays visitors under the age of 14 can tour the exhibit only with an adult.

Although rather titillating and humorous the artifacts were to numerous and in most cases behind glass panels - so I haven't included any images here ...   






The museum's Mosaic Collection includes a number of important mosaics recovered from the ruins of Pompeii and the other Vesuvian cities. This includes the Alexander Mosaic, dating from circa 100 BC, originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii. It depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and Darius III of Persia.





 





 





 


So much beautiful marble - and I have shown you only a fraction ... and to think that most was sculptured over 2000 years past and lay buried under volcanic ash from Vesuvius for centuries ...

More artworks from Napoli to come ...