Naturalia e Mirabilia

Published in Museums & Attractions
06 September 2017

Exhibition by the multifaceted Belgian artist Jan Fabre, curated by Sylvain Bellenger and Laura Trisorio

Fabre has two works entirely made with jewel beetle shells, a distinctive and recurring element of his research. The Spanish Sword (Knight of Modesty) is a steel sword covered with beetle shells that evokes knightly investiture, the sixteenth-century armor, and the battle for art that Fabre has undertaken since 2004 together with the Lancelot film, a defensive crusade for imagination as forms of knowledge.

Railway Tracks to Death belongs to the Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch series in Congo, created by the artist to investigate the controversial colonial history of Belgium. The surface of the work is obtained by assembling thousands of beetle wings of different colors on wood. They form a strange version of the Belgian Congo Railways Arms, with recurring zoomorphic figurines in the center in the language of the Flemish master Bosch, known for his surreal and monstrous imagination.

In dialogue with the works of Fabre there is the "room of wonder", or Wunderkammer, a collection of curiosities, typical of sixteenth and seventeenth century art collections. The cabinets set up here present objects arriving in Capodimonte from the collections of the Farnese, of the Bourbons and the Museo Borgiano of Velletri. They show naturalia (mother-of-pearl, coral branches, ostrich eggs, sawfish rocks) and mirabilia (art objects made of rock crystal, bronze, ivory, amber, coconut, rhino horn, deer horn) united by the ability to arouse astonishment due to their mysterious origin, technique of creation, or materials used.

At the center of one of the cabinets, there is a canvas of the Dutch painter Otto Marseus von Schriek, a specialist in still-life, and in the representation of forest floor.

To this eclectic collection, 41 ancient beetles have been added from the Egyptian Collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

Until22 October

Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Via Miano, 2, Naples. T: 0817499154 www.museocapodimonte.beniculturali.it