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Monumental nativity scene

Archconfraternity of S. Croce - Diocese of Rieti

Leonessa - RI

Nativity scene (Lazio)

  • Archconfraternity of S. Croce

    The monumental nativity scene, made of polychrome and gilded terracotta, dating back to the very early years of the 16th century, is made up of thirty-six human characters plus animals, arranged on three superimposed shelves, divided by rock platforms, supported by equally rocky backdrops. The work depicts the episodes of the Adoration of the Shepherds (first shelf) and the Procession of the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem (second-third shelf). On the first floor the Nativity scene is depicted with in the center the group of the Holy Family with the ox, the donkey and three angels; on the sides there are four shepherds and a peasant woman with her daughter, kneeling in the act of the Pastoral offering. The Virgin is also kneeling to the right of the Bambinello, in devout contemplation, as is St. Joseph on the opposite side. On the second floor, on the sides, there are two semi-lying shepherds, with a dog, who look upwards in amazement. On the top floor is the procession of the Magi, also accompanied by knights and footmen; five musician angels crown the top of the niche. The clothes and faces of the shepherds are marked by the most rigorous realism, fully respecting the characteristics of the Umbrian and Abruzzo rural people.

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