The Naples National Archaeological Museum
(Museo Archeologico Nazionale
di Napoli) is a museum in Naples, southern Italy
, at the northwest corner of the original Greek wall of the city of Neapolis. The museum contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii
, Stabiae and Herculaneum
. The collection includes works of the highest quality produced in Greek, Roman and Renaissance times. It is the most important Italian archaeological museum.
The museum hosts extensive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. Their core is from the Farnese Collection, which includes a collection of engraved gems (including the Farnese Cup, a Ptolemaic bowl made of sardonyx agate and the most famous piece in the "Treasure of the Magnificent", and is founded upon gems collected by Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo il Magnifico in the 15th century) and the Farnese Marbles.
Charles III of Spain
founded the museum in the 1750s. The building he used for it had been erected as a cavalry barracks and during its time as the seat of the University of Naples (from 1616 to 1777) was extended, in the late 18th century.
Herculaneum papyri, carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius
, found after 1752 in Villa of the Papyri
- The Farnese Hercules, which fixed the image of Hercules in the European imagination.
- The Farnese Atlas is the oldest extant depiction of Atlas from Greek mythology, and the oldest view of the Western constellations, possibly based upon the star catalog of Hipparchus
- The Farnese Bull, widely considered the largest single sculpture ever recovered from antiquity.
- The group Harmodius and Aristogeiton, a Roman copy of a bronze work that once stood in the Agora of Athens
- The Venus Kallipygos
- The Farnese Artemis, again a Roman copy of a Greek original
- a collection of busts of Roman emperors
- another set of Roman sculptures (again mainly copies of Greek work) that (like the Hercules) once stood in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
The museum's Mosaic Collection includes a number of important mosaics recovered from the ruins of Pompeii and the other Vesuvian cities.
The museum has the third largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy, after the Vatican Museum and the Museo Egizio
. It is made up primarily of works from two private collections, assembled by Cardinal Borgia
in the second half of the 18th century, and Picchianti in the first years of the 19th.
The Secret Cabinet, a separately housed collection of erotic Roman art.
The Placentarius, the small bronze statue represents a distinctly ithyphallic old nude man who, on the palm of his hand, holds a little silver tray.