“Napoli è una Pompei che non è mai stata sepolta.” With his verdict on Naples—“a Pompeii that was never buried,” he called it in his 1949 book, La Pelle—the Italian writer Curzio Malaparte was also making a statement about Neapolitans and their inescapable bond with their city. It’s impossible to take in the art of Vincenzo Gemito, the 19th-century sculptor long overlooked until last year’s show at Paris’s Petit Palais brought him back into focus, without thinking of Naples. Gemito’s work, which would quickly gain the notice of King Victor Emmanuel II as well as the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, became known as much for its originality as for its Neapolitan influence. The Paris show makes its homecoming as the inaugural post-coronavirus exhibition in the Museo Capodimonte, to which Victor Emmanuel II first gifted Gemito’s terracotta The Player. The artist sculpted it at just 16 years old, three centuries ago. —J.V.
Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte Via Miano, 2, 80131 Napoli NA, Italy Get Directions »