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The Capodimonte Museum: An Art Palace on the Bay of Naples

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Monday, April 4, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0165
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Antea (cropped) by Parmigianino, Museum of Capodimonte, Italy

Its name translates as “head of the mountain,” and indeed, the Capodimonte Museum sits proudly on a hill in a sprawling park that was once the hunting ground for the Bourbon kings of Naples. The museum is housed in a palace built in 1734 by King Charles III as a fitting showcase for the magnificent art collection he had inherited from his mother Elizabeth Farnese, the Queen consort of Spain.

Virtually wander the colorful galleries of the Capodimonte, now one of the largest museums in Italy, guided by Rome-based art historian Laura R. Weinstein. She explores the museum’s masterpieces, including the works of Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo, Parmigianino, and Titian.

Weinstein also highlights art created in Naples itself, especially during the 17th-century Baroque period. Among those works are Caravaggio's Flagellation, painted while he was evading a murder charge in Rome; the powerful Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi; and less-known arresting works by Jusepe de Ribera and Luca Giordano, all of whom carried Caravaggio's torch beyond his premature death in 1610.

The museum’s treasures also include portraits by Francisco Goya displayed in the Capodimonte’s sumptuous royal apartments, an extraordinary porcelain collection, and a contemporary art collection epitomized by Andy Warhol's explosive painting of Mount Vesuvius erupting—a potent reminder that the real thing sits brooding not far from the Capodimonte.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.