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Between the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, the famous collection of works of art, rare and precious objects, paintings and coins of the Farnese family was moved from Rome to Parma. In the middle of the seventeenth century it was exhibited one of the large rooms in Palazzo della Pilotta. Much of the collection was then moved to Naples in 1734 by Charles of Bourbon, the last descendant of the Farnese family to govern the city, with the exception of famous paintings such as the healing of the man born blind by El Greco and the Portrait of Paul III Farnese by Sebastiano del Piombo.
The arrival in Parma in 1748 of Charles’ brother, Philip, Duke of Bourbon, and his wife Louise Elisabeth of France, daughter of Louis XV, brought with it a renewed and more modern cultural climate, born out of the burgeoning ideas of the Enlightenment. The foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1752, with the writings of its students and contest-winning paintings, plus the ducal collections, all contributed to the creation of a new ducal gallery.
At the start of the 19th century, to give the large altar pieces by Correggio and the new acquisitions gradually accumulating the exhibition space they deserved, Duchess Marie Louise of Austria commissioned architect Nicola Bettoli and painter Paolo Toschi to draw up new plans for the museum. This became the city’s first public ducal gallery.
The whole of the National Gallery, including the north wing of the complex comprising the old barns, was redesigned during the 1970-90s . Implemented in stages by Parmesan architect Guido Canali, the project was designed to emphasize the size and original structure of the rooms of the ancient palazzo, while recovering and updating the original 19th-century project. [source]