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Baroque spectacular in Naples

Sweeping initiative encompasses 13 exhibitions

23 December, 18:09
Baroque spectacular in Naples (ANSA) - Naples, December 23 - Naples is celebrating the Baroque movement with a sweeping initiative encompassing 13 exhibitions and hundreds of artistic and decorative masterpieces. Six of the southern city's museums are each hosting shows spanning a period of 150 years in total, starting with Caravaggio's arrival in Naples in 1606.

Over 350 items are on display in the exhibitions, many of which recently restored or rarely shown pieces. In addition to artwork, including paintings, drawings and sculpture, the initiative features jewellery, fabrics, furniture, ceramics and porcelain.

The centrepiece of the event is an exhibition at Naples' prestigious Capodimonte Museum, showcasing a selection of paintings by some of the most famous Baroque names, including Caravaggio, Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena.

Covering the period 1606 to 1750, it includes works by artists operating in all the main strands of Baroque: Caravaggio-inspired naturalism, classical and Rococo.

The Capodimonte will also host a side event devoted entirely to drawings by famous Neapolitan painters of the era, with rarely shown pieces on loan from public and private collections, held both in Italy and abroad.

Castel Sant'Elmo is showing two exhibitions. The first of these features 17th-century paintings, sculptures and furniture from local churches and museums restored over the last decade but which, for various reasons, have not gone on show before. The second event spotlights images by contemporary photographer Luciano Pedicini, who has documented the Baroque aspects of Neapolitan architecture, from hidden decorative detail to the showily grandiose. The Certosa di San Martino complex is itself an architectural temple to Baroque, which is explored in the first of three initiatives on show there.

The second event is a series of paintings by Italian and international artists detailing the city's Baroque style, with work by Gaspar van Wittel, Didier Barra and Antonio Joli among others. A selection of sculptures by Francesco Celebrano and Giuseppe Sanmartino, on loan from churches around Naples, make up the third event The Duca di Martina National Ceramics Museum focuses on the decorative aspects of Baroque and their interplay, displaying painting, sculpture, applied art, furniture, porcelain and silverwork. The Pignatelli Museum spotlights Baroque's persistent links to still life, from its roots in naturalism, through its development into a full-blown exuberant movement, and then during its later transition towards neo-naturalism and rococo.

Luca Forte and Jacopo Nani are among the artists on show here. Palazzo Reale plays host to three exhibitions. The first comprises an array of maps, drawings and photography charting the development of the city, and examples of Baroque architecture over the centuries. The second carries visitors through rooms that were once royal apartments, with furniture, frescoes and wall hangings created by the greatest names of their day. The third event is a spectacular 210-figure nativity scene created in the 1700s by leading sculptors, while a selection of paintings from the same time recount the nativity story.

The initiative, Ritorno al Barocco (Return to Baroque) runs until April 11. For more information visit www.ritornoalbarocco.com. photo: Luca Giordano, The Rape of Europa.

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