Dec 12th 2019

Displayed annually during Christmas time, the Art Institute’s Neapolitan crèche includes more than 200 figures—some of whose components were carved and assembled in the 18th century. In keeping with Naples tradition, the scene transposes the birth of Jesus from first-century Bethlehem to 18th-century Naples.


In this lecture, educator Jeff Nigro guides you through the complex diorama, which includes not only the Holy Family but angels, the Three Wise Men, shepherds and their flocks, livestock, musicians, dancers, peddlers, and many others. You’ll learn why the crèche is such a spectacular expression of the Baroque period, how it engages with popular piety, and emphasizes expressive emotion, dynamic movement, and exuberant theatricality typical of the time.

Persons with disabilities who would like to request an accessibility accommodation for an Art Institute program are encouraged to send an e-mail to two weeks in advance of the program.

Fullerton Hall
Free with museum admission


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