Monday, July 30, 2018

Hic Habitat Felicitas: on a day of art viewing in Naples

erotic painting
Image result for Hic Habitat Felicitas
Scenes from a day of art viewing from the Museum of Archaeology and its Secret Galleries
and the Museo di Capodimonte, an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte. 

If you walk long enough, looking at everything, you can get drunk on art here. 
My head is spinning noted Caroline on Sunday standing outside the 
Museo di Capodimonte, an art museum located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples.  The day had been a long one.  We began walking over the cobblestones the one k from the hotel to the Museum of Archaeology.  With collections of mosaics and frescos from Pompeii, it is one of my favorite museums in the world. 
Walking through the Archaeology Museum, our tour guide showed us the mosaics that used to fill the floors of the homes in Pompeii.  Some of the mosaics hold a perspective we would not see again
for another eighteen hundred years. Yet, none of the Renaissance artists could see these works, that remained in ash until Geribaldi opened the tomb. 
Its an incredible secret, he explained, like Agatha Christie, we have to look for clues.
Only men were allowed into the Separate Galleries, the Gabinetto Segratto, before 1969. 
With sex as talismans, phalluses everywhere, a hermaphrodite, a wall of frescos offering a menu of options in a bordello, the bawdy Secret Cabinet of Naples is the collection of erotic art in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
It is a space where the dead overlap with the living, a mosaic of Alexander the Great, shows a winner, a loser, and the desperation of last moments of a life. 
The words "Hic Habitat Felicitas" can be found on a phallic relief, "Here Lives Happiness..."
Mom talked with the museum guide the whole time.
The two chatted away about the secrets of the space, with arts and ideas influencing each other from Greek Culture, images from the Nile, to Italy, to Herculaneum.
Before our afternoon journey to the Museo di Capodimonte, we took in a lunch at a little vegetarian restaurant across the street, chatting about what we'd seen and hoped to do with the rest of the day. 
The permanent collection of Museo di Capodimonte sprawled through three floors of arts, including a third curated by supporters of the museum, who laid out their favorite pieces from the collection, inviting us all into a conversation about what it all means to us to see this art. Elder women took it all in, admiring the work, girls lay in the grass, and the little one looked for four leaf clovers.
We kept on looking at art, wandering, getting lost in the curvy streets, well into the evening. 

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