Farnese collection - Gems
History and formationThe collection of gems in the Naples Archaeological Museum, which now numbers over 2000 finds, is characterised by the high artistic quality of many of the objects and by the presence - besides the roughly 350 gems found in the ancient towns and cities of Campania - of one of the most illustrious historical collections of glyptics formed in Italy: the Farnese Collection. This precious collection, which was assembled in Parma during the mid-eighteenth century, consisted of gems from other important private collections: the oldest, in terms of their period of formation, are the splendid fifteenth century collections of the Venetian pope Paul II (Barbo) and Lorenzo the Magnificent, both full of extraordinary pieces which were supplemented by those belonging to the cardinals Ranuccio and Alessandro Farnese and their librarian and antiquarian Fulvio Orsini. Inherited by Charles III of Bourbon, the collection was moved to Palazzo Reale (the royal palace) in Naples in 1736, and was subsequently transferred, around the middle of the century, to the palace of Capodimonte. In 1806, with the arrival of the French, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon brought the collection with him when he fled to Palermo and only in 1817 did the collection return to Naples where it was placed in the Real Museo Borbonico.RouteBoth the ancient and modern gems are currently on display in the two rooms on the ground floor of the museum in a large representative selection of finds which are qualitatively and historically important in terms of the formation of this prestigious collection. Room IX contains the largest and most general corpus of the collection, organised according to iconographic theme, together with a few exhibits that it has been possible to identify from the collections of Ranuccio and Alessandro Farnese; besides the Farnese Cup, the most famous cameo of antiquity, Room X houses the most historically important collections: the Barbo gems, those of the Treasure of Lorenzo the Magnificent, displayed according to the craftsmen and the period of manufacture, as well as those of Fulvio Orsini, arranged according to theme in order to highlight the interest in myth and iconography of the antiquarian of the Farnese family.
Pannuti 1983-1994; Pannuti 1989; De Caro 1994; Gemme Farnese 1994; De Caro 1999.
|Location:||Ground floor; rooms IX-X|