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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

National Archaeological Museum, Naples

National Archaeological Museum, Naples

National Archaeological Museum, Naples

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is a prominent Italian archaeological museum, with a significant collection that includes works from Greek, Roman and Renaissance times. Its Roman artifacts come from nearby Pompeii, Stabiae, and Herculaneum.

The museum’s collection includes:

  • Greek and Roman Marble Sculptures
  • Farnese Collection
  • Bronzes from the Villa of the Papyri
  • Mosaics
  • Egyptian Collection
  • Secret Cabinet

A Virtual Tour of the National Archaeological Museum, Naples

Highlights of the National Archaeological Museum, Naples

  • The Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii
    • The Alexander Mosaic is a floor mosaic originally from the House of the Faun in Pompeii that dates from circa 100 BC. The image depicts a battle between the armies of Alexander the Great and King Darius III of Persia. The mosaic illustrates Alexander, on his horse, charging the Persian king Darius who is on a chariot. The battle scene comprises over 50 men. Alexander defeated Darius at the Battle of Issus and again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela. This depiction is traditionally believed to show the Battle of Issus. This work of art is a combination of the different artistic traditions of Greece and Roman but it is based on a copy of an early 3rd-century BC Hellenistic painting. The style of the mosaic is distinctly Greek in that it depicts close up portraits of the main heroes of the battle. The original artwork was lost in the late 4th-century AD.
  • The Farnese Hercules
    • The Farnese Hercules is an ancient and famous marble statue of Hercules. It depicts a muscular, yet weary, Hercules in a rare moment of repose as he leans on his knobby club. The club is covered by the skin of the fabled Nemean lion draped over it. In myths about Heracles, killing the Nemean lion was his first challenge on his journey to becoming a heroic figure. Hercules also holds the apples of the Hesperides, concealing them behind his back cradled in his right hand. The apples symbolize that he has just performed one of the last of “The Twelve Labours.” One of his last Labours was to steal the Golden Apples from the Garden of the Hesperides.
  • Venus Callipyge
    • The Venus Callipyge, also known by her Greek name Aphrodite Kallipygos or the Callipygian Venus, all literally meaning “Venus (or Aphrodite) of the beautiful buttocks.” The Venus Callipyge is a famous Ancient Roman marble statue, which is a copy of an older Greek original. It depicts a partially draped woman, raising her peplos to uncover her hips and buttocks, and looking back and down over her shoulder. The subject is conventionally identified as Venus and some versions use her Greek name, Aphrodite. Venus Callipyge from the Farnese Collection dates to the late 1st century BC. The lost Greek original on which it is based is thought to have been bronze, and to have been created around 300 BC. The provenance of this marble copy is unknown, but it was rediscovered, missing her head. The head was restored, in the 16th century and again in the 18th century.
  • Frescos from Pompeii
    • Pompeii was an ancient city located near Naples in Italy. It was buried under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The city was preserved under the ash, and the excavated city has provided a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried. Some of the most exciting art and artifacts discovered in Pompeii are the Frescos uncovered on the walls of the many villas that were buried. Some of the significant Pompeii Frescos that are preserved at the National Archaeological Museum, Naples include: “Portrait of Terentius Neo and his Wife” and “Theatre Couple from Pompeii”
  • Darius Vase
    • The Darius Vase is a famous vase painted by an unknown Magna Graecia Apulian vase painter. The pottery was produced between 340 and 320 BCE, by a workshop in the Greek city of Taranto, ancient Taras, Magna Graecia, before the fall of Taranto to the Romans. It is an essential example of Apulian vase painting. The “Darius Vase” was discovered in 1851 near Canosa di Puglia and is now on display at the National Archaeological Museum, Naples. This volute krater is of large dimensions and many figures, inscriptions, and ornate styling. The neck of the vase shows combat scenes between the Greeks and the Persians. These scenes represent the battles between Alexander the Great and Darius III.

National Archaeological Museum, Naples

  • Museum:                     National Archaeological Museum, Naples
  • Italian:                         Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli
  • Formerly:                     Real Museo Borbonico – “Royal Bourbon Museum”
  • City:                             Naples
  • Italian:                         Napoli
  • Country:                      Italy
  • Established:                1777
  • Type:                           Archaeological Museum
  • Location:                     Piazza Museo 19, Naples Italy

A Virtual Tour of Museums in Italy

Rome Museums and Historical Sites

Florence Museums

Milan Museums

Bologna Museums

Venice Museums

Naples Museums

Italian Proverbs and Quotes

Map for the National Archaeological Museum, Naples

Highlights of National Archaeological Museum, Naples

National Archaeological Museum of Naples

A River deity statue, dated second half of the 2nd century AD – Farnese Collection

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National Archaeological Museum of Naples - Statua di Divinita Fluviale

River deity statue, the second half of the 2nd century AD

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“You cannot say, because I am from Naples so I like the mixture of drama and comedy all together.”
– Sophia Loren

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Photo Credit: Berthold Werner / CC BY-SA Wikimedia Commons; Elliott Brown / CC BY Wikimedia Commons

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