In a continuation of its annual festive tradition, the Art Institute of Chicago is once again exhibiting its spectacular 18th-century Neapolitan crèche, filled with some 200 painted terracotta figures (until 8 January 2024). The scene tells the story of Christ’s birth against an intricate – if historically anachronistic – backdrop inspired by the Naples of its day. Its upper register features the infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and assorted angels and shepherds in costumes of embroidered silk, while below are smaller vignettes that depict the everyday life of Neapolitans. Among such secular scenes are peasants tending to livestock, street vendors selling local food and a tavern tableau complete with an array of cured meats. Find out more on the AIC’s website.
Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary