At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the festive season includes a long-standing tradition: the display of a Neapolitan baroque crèche in its Medieval Sculpture Hall (until 8 January 2024). The 18th-century nativity scene, or presepio, features some 140 figures attributed to the sculptor Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720–93). Alongside the traditional cast of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Magi, angels and shepherds, it also features figures of townspeople and countryfolk from Bethlehem and its surrounds. The pliable bodies of the statuettes are made from tow and wire, their limbs of carved wood and their heads of terracotta, while their lavish attire features embroidery and jewelled accessories. Towering above is a 20-foot-tall blue spruce, while an 18th-century choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid sits behind the ensemble. Find out more on the Met’s website.
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