Friday 18 December 2020

presepio, threepeeo

For this long slog of a year, the Vatican has elected to showcase a profoundly different manger scene that while we think all find this somewhat other than expected and some taking more exception with the choice of the display than others of nineteen to-scale figures executed in terracotta sourced to a crรจche that pupils and art teachers made for their town, selected from a Nativity Scene consisting of fifty-four pieces in total—steeped in the tradition of the earthenware—over a ten-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-seventies.

There’s a helmeted astronaut in attendance as a nod to the contemporaneous 1969 Moon landing plus a centurion that some are comparing to Darth Vader (see link above), though the sculpture pre-dates the franchise by a few years. As one observer enthusiastically commented, it would be a nice ensemble—in miniature—for heath and home. Previously on tour in the 1970s in Israel, Palestine and Trajan’s Forum in Rome, the selection echoes the Pope’s missive from last Christmas—Admirabile signum—that it is customary and expected to include symbolic, contemporary characters to make the display busier and better address the everyday nature of holiness and grace.