Naples: Archeology Museum

museumThe archeological museum in Naples is famous but although I’d been in Naples twice, I’d never seen it. After a day there, I could see why tours avoided it: it’s in an old palace, there are no elevators, it’s 40-50 steps up to each level and there are two levels on each wing. This day reminded me that going down stairs makes the muscles inside the knees sore…dancer2

Except for the dancer, irresistible to me, I am avoiding the frescoes – you’ve probably had enough of them. I’m simply going to give you three slide shows: sculpture, artifacts, mosaics. And don’t miss the scale model of Pompeii at the end. We spent 5 hours at this astonishing museum.

Sculptures (labeled when I remember who was portrayed): In the hall of the emperors, each bust a true portrait, unlike the Greeks who idealized… Caesar a modern CEO. A stout man who’d fit in on wall street. The woman (Agrippina) grumpy and aged. Other fun pieces — The bee goddess, symbol of fertility – head, hands, and feet not original but boobs everywhere. They could sculpt anything.  Horses, dogs, Hercules, leaning tired on a tree. The marble wounds on the warriors – a slit in the marble and incised “blood” running down. Note the detail of The Farnese Bull – the largest ancient sculpture discovered to date. The back was as intricate at the front.

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Artifacts: totally mind blowing. The Romans had glass! Locks and keys. Cooking utensils, including a colander, that looked just like ours. All the pieces were decorated. Take a look at the bat handle.  Casseroles in bronze. The painting of a face on a tiny bit of glass.  Their lives were just like ours, really.  Trying for comfort and a bit of glamour. Power for some. The duck lamp – I told B that it was a “brassiere” when I meant a “brazier.” More tired than I thought!

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Cabinet of the erotica. Penises everywhere and some very graphic paintings. I was interested in the bed – modern in shape but the mattress must have been hard. A French woman paused before what I thought a garden variety coupling and practically shouted: REGARDEZ! “Look!” Her surprise belied the French reputation. I have hidden one of the pictures I took among the artifacts. There was a variety of “positions”. Oh, and penises brought good luck to a house so they hung them, with bells on (literally) for decoration. Very bizarre. (But the pix are too much for a public blog.)

Mosaics – they painted with them. Lots of roosters to my amusement. These were on the floor! Think of the time spent crawling around placing the little stones.

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3 pompeiiIn the afternoon, a magic moment when we discover a section that was shut in the morning had opened. Full of frescoes but also a Pompeii model (1 to 100 scale) created in 1879. Look closely at the tiny walls; you can see the frescoes painted on them. Imagine what it would cost to make it now.

In the photo below, the empty space on the right is the basilica. The large cross-section is the forum.3 pompeii 2



  1. Julie Hayhurst says:

    Wow amazing pictures Terri. Very impressive what they made in their day.

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