Capodimonte Museum, Naples
Italian Art Gallery: History, Collection Highlights.


National Museum of Capodimonte, Naples


History and Collection
Collection Highlights
Other Key Works
Contact Details

Uffizi Gallery Florence
Doria Pamphilj Gallery
Pitti Palace, Florence
Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel Frescoes
Raphael Rooms (Vatican)
Venice Academy Gallery
Guggenheim Venice
Prado Museum Madrid
Reina Sofia, Madrid
Alte Meister Dresden
Gemaldegalerie SMPK, Berlin
Pinakothek Museum Munich
Kunsthistorisches Museum
Musee Conde, Chantilly
Louvre Museum
Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts
Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts

Before visiting the Capodimonte
Museum, Naples, see:
Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.

History and Collection

One of the best art museums in Europe, the National Museum of Capodimonte (Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte) is located in the grand Palace of Capodimonte in Naples. Its exquisite collection of artworks includes many different types of art but focuses primarily on painting and decorative art from Naples, but also includes examples from most Italian schools of painting and some sculpture from antiquity. The origins of the Capodimonte museum date back to 1738, when King Charles VII of Naples (later King Charles III of Spain) decided to build a hunting lodge on Capodimonte hill, but then decided instead to make it a palace; partly to accommodate his expanding court but also to house the Farnese art collection which he had inherited from his mother, Elisabetta Farnese. Over time the palace was extended, as was the art collection. Today, the core of the collection still derives from the Farnese and Bourbon dynasties. The gallery’s large holding of portrait art comes mostly from the Farnese collection. It includes portraits by Titian (c.1485-1576), Sebastiano del Piombo (1485-1547) and Lorenzo Lotto (c.1480–1556), as well as the Mannerist Rosso Fiorentino (1494–1540). The Bourbon collection includes portraits by Neoclassical painter Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807), the Sant'Eufemia (1454) sculpture by Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506) and The Holy Family by Palma the Elder (1480–1528).

Mauritshuis Art Museum
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
British Museum
National Gallery London
British Royal Art Collection

For news of any major art
shows being held at the
Capodimonte Museum, Naples,
see: Art News Headlines.

Collection Highlights

The gallery’s most famous painting is probably The Gypsy Madonna (1517) by Correggio (1489–1534), the foremost painter of the Parma school. Also on permanent display, the monumental Crucifixion (1426) by Masaccio (1401-28) who was one of the greatest painters of the Quattrocento period, although his painting career was short-lived. Other major works include Madonna and Child and Two Angels (c.1468) by Botticelli, which was once attributed to Filippino Lippi (1457-1504). There is a Portrait of Clement VII (1531) by Sebastiano del Piombo as well as beautiful canvases by Titian (1488-1576) and Parmigianino (1503-40).

An important exemplar of the 17th century Neapolitan School of Painting, founded by Caravaggio and Ribera, is The Flagellation of Christ (1607) by Caravaggio. At the time, Naples was the second largest city in Europe (after Paris), and with 3,000 churches and monasteries, was a centre of Counter Reformation piety and thus religious art. For more, see: Painting in Naples (1600-1700). For the origins of Neapolitan caravaggism, please see: Caravaggio in Naples. For later developments during the 17th century, see: Neapolitan Baroque painting (c.1650-1700).

Highlights of the 17th century Neapolitan School held by the museum, include works by Battistello Caracciolo (1578-1635), Lanfranco (1582-1647), Massimo Stanzione (1585-1656), Jusepe Ribera (1591-1652), Mattia Preti (1613-99), Bernardo Cavallino (1616-56), Luca Giordano (1634-1705), Giovanni Battista Beinaschi (1636-88), Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) and others.

In addition, there is a large collection of 19th century Neapolitan art including works by Giacinto Gigante (1806-1876), Vincenzo Migliaro (1858-1938), Antonio Mancini (1852-1930) and Francesco Paolo Michetti (1851-1929). There is a collection of Renaissance armour, coins, Flemish tapestries, crystal and ivory decorative arts; as well as the famous porcelain salon, a room whose walls are entirely covered in porcelain. The great chandelier was shattered during a bombing in World War II but was miraculously reconstructed. Today there are thousands of artworks in the collection to delight visitors. The Palace itself is located in a beautiful park and visitors can step out into the tufa stone balconies to appreciate the full view. Although the history of the museum can be traced back to 1738, the gallery was not opened until 1957, which is why it is not still yet widely known.


A veduta (view painting) is a very detailed cityscape. As wealthy citizens of Europe began to travel more in the 18th century, in what became know as the Grand Tour, vedute pictures of Venice became very popular as tourists bought them as mementos of their tour. There are a few fine vedute examples in the Capodimonte museum by Canaletto (1697-1768). There are also landscape paintings by Claude Lorrain (1600-82) and watercolours by artists from the Italian landscape school of Posillipo (named after a hilltop village near Naples) which tried to invigorate freshness in the more traditional academic landscape style of painting.

Other Key Works

- Pope Paul III with his Grandsons (1546) by Titian.
- Annunciation (1557) by Titian, once believed to be a copy by Luca Giordano.
- The Parable of the Blind (1568) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
- Bacchus (c.1590) by Annibale Carracci.
- Madonna and Child with Angels (c.1465) by Sandro Botticelli.
- Portrait of Pierluigi Farnese in Armour (c.1546) by Titian.
(Despite the canvas being in a poor condition, this painting is considered one of the best portraits Titian painted for the Farnese family. The following year, Pierluigi was stabbed to death due to a political conspiracy.)



Contact Details

Capodimonte National Museum,
1 Via Miano
Parco di Capodimonte 80131

+39 081 749 91 11

Opening Times

Monday to Saturday: 10am to 7pm
Sunday: 9am to 2pm

• For details of more Italian galleries, see: Best Art Museums.
• For more details about Neapolitan painting and sculpture, see: Homepage.

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