Masterpieces from Capodimonte's Collection Traveling to the US for the First Time

Next month forty masterpieces from Capodimonte’s permanent collection—including works by Raphael, Titian, El Greco, and Artemisia Gentileschi—will travel to the United States where they will be on view at the Seattle Art Museum from October 17, 2019 to January 26, 2020. The show will then be hosted at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas next spring. Read our press below or download it here:


Sept. 12, 2019. CHICAGO, Il. –It is with great pleasure that the American Friends of Capodimonte (AFC) announce the first U.S. traveling exhibition of 40 Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, most of which have never been viewed by an American audience, from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, Italy, the royal palace built in 1738 by Charles of Bourbon, King of Naples and Sicily (later King Charles III of Spain).

Flesh & Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum will open October 17, 2019 and run through January 26, 2020 at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in Washington state before traveling to Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum in Texas from March 1, 2020 to June 14, 2020. “This spectacular exhibit is also a testament to the strong cooperation between Italy and the United States and some of their greatest cultural institutions which tirelessly endeavored to renew the bonds of our deep cultural ties by bringing a unique glimpse of Italy to Seattle and Fort Worth,” says Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States.

Artemisia Gentileschi,  Judith and Holofernes  (ca.1612-17), oil on canvas, 159 x 126 cm Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Holofernes (ca.1612-17), oil on canvas, 159 x 126 cm
Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples

“We’re thrilled for SAM to be the only West Coast venue for this powerful exhibition from the extraordinary Capodimonte Museumour first collaboration with the institution,” says SAM’s curator of European Painting and Sculpture, Chiyo Ishikawa. Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Museum, says the exhibition’s paintings “embody innovation, exuberance and grandeur–the result of revolutionary painting techniques and dramatic use of light and dark. The works continue to influence artists and inspire art lovers the world over.”

Flesh & Blood is presented chronologically, tracing a 200-year period from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Highlights include Parmigianino’s Antea (ca. 1535), El Greco’s Boy Blowing on an Ember (1571-1572), Titian’s Danae (1544-1545) and Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith and Holofernes (ca. 1612-1617), featured in “When a Woman Wields a Weapon” in the Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019. “The joy of Capodimonte,” says the museum’s director Sylvain Bellenger, “is not only the breadth of the collection, but the quality. We have the best of Titian, Parmigianino, Annibale Carracci, not to mention Italian giants unknown to the general public like Schedoni and Preti. This exhibition brings many of these knock-out masterpieces to the United States for the first time.”

A 160-page illustrated softcover exhibition catalogue, produced in collaboration with the American Friends of Capodimonte Curatorial Fellows, will be available at the Seattle Art Museum and Kimbell Art Museum.

Referred to as an “under-visited treasure trove” by the New York Times in 2019 and “the most underrated museum in Italy” by Condé Nast Traveler in 2016, Capodimonte was built in 1738 by King Charles of Bourbon. It sits atop the highest hill above the ancient city of Naples, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The core of the collection is the Farnese collection of paintings and sculpture, formed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and inherited by Charles of Bourbon. This fall the museum opens a yearlong exhibition on the oldest opera house in Europe, Naples' Teatro San Carlo. The exhibition, Napoli Napoli: Of Lava, Porcelain and Music, recounts the Bourbon monarchy's patronage of the arts and sciences during Naples' golden age.

American Friends of Capodimonte (AFC) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization created to bring awareness about one of the world’s greatest museums to an English-speaking audience. The AFC’s Fellowship is the only U.S. program to offer young American art historians the experience of working in an Italian museum. AFC members receive exclusive access to Capodimonte Museum and Royal Park, U.S. events related to the museum’s collection and priority on custom trips to Naples and beyond. For more information, visit: Or write to AFC President, Nancy Vespoli, or call at + 1 203-887-9872.

The exhibition is organized by the Capodimonte Museum (Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte), Naples, the Seattle Art Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum, and MondoMostre.

For information about AFC events and membership, press inquiries, or to set up an interview with Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Capodimonte Museum, please write to AFC President, Nancy Vespoli, or call + 1 203-887-9872.

Giordano and Gemito in Paris

This autumn the Petit Palais in Paris will host exhibitions on two of the greatest figures in Neapolitan art: the prolific baroque painter Luca Giordano and the slightly-mad, nineteenth-century realist sculptor Vincenzo Gemito. The exhibitions were organized in close collaboration with Capodimonte, from which the bulk of the works on view will be lent.

This will be the first French show for Luca Giordano. Although the Neapolitan artist dominated painting for 40 years in his hometown and passed a ten-year period as court painter in Madrid, art historians north of Mediterranean Europe have never fully warmed to Giordano. The exhibition may go a long way to correcting viewers’ opinions.

For Gemito, meanwhile, the Petiti Palais exhibition is the first ever to be mounted outside Italy. Travelers will know the sculptor as the author of the Fisher Boy in the courtyard of Florence’s Bargello museum. The sculpture is a Neapolitan icon that immortalizes in bronze the rural poverty that was near-universal in Southern Italy until the second half of the twentieth century. The Paris show will highlight Gemito’s keen realist eye in casts and drawings, but visitors will also see another side to the sculptor. This is the Gemito that was driven to insanity in his quest to equal the courtly and allegorical art of Giambologna and Bernini.

Vincenzo Gemito (1852-1929): The Sculptor of the Neapolitan Soul will run from October 15, 2019 to January 26, 2020.
Luca Giordano (1634-1705): The Triumph of Neapolitan Painting will run from November 15, 2019 to 23 February 2020.

Artemisia in the Wall Street Journal

Three of Capodimonte’s masterpieces by Artemisia Gentileschi, the most famous woman artist of the seventeenth century, are the focus of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. The bulk of the article is, not surprisingly, devoted to the first of Artemisia’s many scenes of Judith Slaying Holofernes. Artemisia executed this violent and powerful work no less than five years after she was raped by the painter Agostino Tassi, an experience to which art historians have linked the picture (though not always without controversy).

Art lovers will soon have the exceptional opportunity to see Artemisia’s unforgettable work in the United States, when Capodimonte lends it and other masterpieces to the Seattle Art Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020, respectively.