The exhibition Beyond Caravaggio. A new story of painting in Naples (from 31 March 2022 to 31 May 2023) unfolds in the 24 rooms on the second floor of the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte , directed by Sylvain Bellenger. On display are 200 works, all from the museum's permanent collections, without external loans.
Beyond Caravaggio. A new tale of painting in Naples is an exhibition, created in collaboration with the associations Amici di Capodimonte Ets and American Friends of Capodimonte, which aims to relaunch the debate by presenting another reading of the 17th century Neapolitan, which for amateurs and historians has become the century of Caravaggio .
The invention of the seventeenth century
The Neapolitan 17th century is a recent 'invention'. It was rediscovered and defined less than a century ago by the art historian Roberto Longhi (1890-1970). According to the scholar, Caravaggio's naturalism would be the backbone of Neapolitan art. Seventeenth-century studies on the South derive, almost without exception, from his proposals formulated in a series of essays that were published essentially in the second decade of the last century.
From the inauguration of the Capodimonte Art Gallery in 1957 until now, the exhibition of 17th century Neapolitan paintings has largely been the result of this analysis. The reality is more complex and the curators of the exhibition, Stefano Causa and Patrizia Piscitello, on the basis of the studies of recent decades, propose to reconsider Longhi's scheme, now largely historicized, and to rethink the entire articulation of a century that was not only that of Caravaggio, but above all that of Jusepe de Ribera , a Spaniard who arrived in Naples in 1616, six years after Caravaggio's death.
The exhibition Oltre Caravaggio brings Ribera, represented in the Capodimonte collections by sacred, mythological works and still lifes, to the center of the Neapolitan art scene.
Presenting the Neapolitan artistic civilization means highlighting the external contributions and exchanges with other centres, the sending of works and projects from outside, the residence in the city of 'foreign' artists. Naples, in fact, was and is a large port city, a crossroads of Italian life and culture. By the 17th century it had become one of the most populous megacities in the world, exerting a profound influence on European culture; its history presents itself as a rich stratigraphy, made up of different civilizations, peoples and artistic expressions that have left traces in the artistic and monumental heritage. For centuries it has suffered attacks, invasions and destruction, facing numerous natural disasters: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and plagues.