Hotel Il Convento: Sites touristiques
Museo di Capodimonte
Reachable with the Metropolitana Line 2 and bus
Capodimonte was designed and constructed by the Borbonians in 1738 as a royal museum. The Farnese collection, the essential core, included over 1,700 paintings at the end of the 17th century together with other decorative arts just as impressive and priceless. It displays master works by Masaccio, Botticelli, Perugino, Bellini, Tiziano, Parmigianino, Bruegel, Carracci, Guido Reni, Carvaggio, and Giordano.
In the course of the 19th century, the museum became rich from other important sections such as the collections from the Borbone family, paintings and precious objects from closed down monasteries, royal and private donations, and from successive acquisitions; and of course the master works by the Cardinal Stefano Borgia (bought by Ferdinando I of Borbone in 1817), Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, and Roman antiquities among which is the famous Globo celeste (The Heavenly Globe).
Reachable by the Metropolitana Line 2
The building that currently houses the museum first started out as a riding school in 1586. Then in 1612, Don Pedro Fernando de Castro, viceroy of Naples, gave the responsibility of designing the new site of the university to the architect Giulio Cesare.
The building was then tranformed at the end of the 18th century into the “Real Museo” by the architect Pompeo Schiantarelli which held the collections of relics from Ercolano, Pompei and Stabia. In fact, Ferdinando IV of Borbone also moved the art gallery of Capodimonte and collections from the royal villa of Portici and the Cardinal Stefano Borgia.
In 1957, (after the Borbonian library was moved into the Palazzo Reale and entitled to Vittorio Emanuele II, the art gallery in the Palazzo di Capodimonte) the museum had been destined to the collections of antiquity.
The obelisk was given from the people to Carlo di Borbone who always wanted to see displayed the statue of the Virgin. Everything was organized by the Jesuit Father Pepe, well-known upholder of the rights of the poor and a well-respected man by the Bourbon court. In 1747, the beautiful baroque guglia was constructed and was dedicated to the Virgin Mother with much dismay from the Duke of Monteleone who was afraid of the towering obelisk falling onto his building.
The king would have wanted to contribute his own money to the great “collection” by Father Pepe, but Pepe refused because of his want to succeed by himself in scraping together from within the surrounding towns the sizeable figure to pay for the artists. The design of the Virgin Mother is by Genoino according to the indications from Father Pepe. The beautiful full-relief sculptures whose medallions in high-relief represent saints of the Jesuit origin and evangelic events are by Matteo Bottiglieri and Francesco Pagano.
Gesù Nuovo, designed by the Jesuit L. Valeriani, was constructed in the 16th century with a diamond-point bossed façade in the area of the renaissance Palazzo Serseverini. In 1767, the Jesuits were banished by the king, and the church was passed to the reformed Franciscans. But finally in 1821, the church was returned to its original founders. The inside presents magnificent multicolored marble on the walls. The high altar contains inlaid work of black agate stone, “porfido”, “diaspro”, amethyst, malachite and lapis lazuli. On the other wall is a fresco by F. Solemena with the “Cacciata di Eliodoro” (The Expulsion of Eliodoro) from the temple in 1725. The ceiling has frescoes on the center nave by B. Corenzio and P. De Matteis.
The large chapel of S. Ignazio di Loyola, founder of the company of Jesus, was erected by the Prince Gesualdo from Venosa, the celebrated madrigal singer who had his own wife killed along with her lover. The cappella of visitation guards the remains of San Giuseppe of Moscati, the doctor from the hospital of the incurable and university professor, the same saint that dedicated his entire life to helping the sick and the poor. He was declared a saint in 1987.
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