Floor | Roman Art
Farnese Collection Gallery
In this room we present some of the most famous ancient sculptures from the collection of the Farnese family. The Farnese owed their meteoric rise to become one of Italy's leading and most powerful noble families above all to Alessandro Farnese, who ascended the papal throne as Paul III in 1534. The family's mighty palace in Rome, which Michelangelo (among others) helped to design, still dominates the Piazza Farnese in the Campo Marzio area of the historic center. The Farnese ruled the Duchy of Parma with Piacenza from 1545 until 1731. Like their Roman palace, their other palaces were opulently furnished with ancient works of art and an equally important collection of paintings. After the death of the last duke, Antonio, in 1731, in the absence of an heir the collection passed by succession to a collateral branch of the family and into the possession of Charles III of Bourbon, King of Naples and Sicily, who had the unique collection transported to Naples. The paintings and other works of art from the Middle Ages to the Baroque are now housed in the National Museum of Capodimonte, the ancient sculptures in the National Archaeological Museum or MANN. The masterpieces from the Farnese collection, as well as of course the many finds from the destroyed Vesuvian cities of Herculaneum and Pompei, make the MANN one of the most important archaeological museums in the world.