It is a well known fact, but it never stops to surprise and amaze me: Italy is full of hidden treasures. Some are near Naples, in the imposing Bourbon Palazzo of Capodimonte. The most unusual of these art works is, perhaps, a majolica room designed for Maria Amalia of Saxony – who unconventionally had herself portraited in gentleman’s gear riding a steed.
The room, made around 1758, substitutes wooden boiseries with porcelain. Over 3000 ceramic pieces with hundred of different figures, cover the walls of the boudoir. Little monkeys, exotic birds, plants and people are all rococo of oriental inspiration: the fashionable chinoiserie of the 18th century. So exceptional was this room that when Maria Amalia left Naples to become Queen of Spain, she had a copy made for her palace at Aranjuez, near Madrid. I wonder if the Spaniards keep their gems as well hidden as the Italians!