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Friday 14 May 2021

Network The controversy over the Abruzzo nativity scene in the Vatican

The controversy over the Abruzzo nativity scene in the Vatican

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Di Sun Serafini

The Reuter news agency reported that the nativity scene set up this year in St. Peter's Square "has confused and saddened many people." The "New York Times", on the other hand, in dedicating an entire page to the Vatican crib in its edition last Sunday, highlighted the opinion of an interviewee who likes "because these are not traditional times and we do not need of a traditional nativity scene ". 

            Each year the Holy See prepares a different nativity scene, and the modernist line of this year's nativity scene is expressed with a work made by students of the Grue di Castelli art institute of Abruzzo, in the province of Teramo, between 1965 and 1975. It has been pointed out that the figures of the astronauts of the crib are dedicated to the space race of those years. In St. Peter's Square, only 20 pieces of the fragile collection are exhibited, consisting of a total of 54 statues.

            According to the "Times" (which accompanied the article with a drawing of the position of Abruzzo in the boot, as a region unknown to many Americans), the criticism of the too modernistic nativity scene is only an excuse for conservatives to criticize Pope Francis.

The controversy over the Abruzzo nativity scene in the Vatican
The controversy over the Abruzzo nativity scene in the Vatican

            The "Monumental Crib of Castelli" is made up of larger than life-sized ceramic statues and is considered an object of contemporary art that has its roots in the traditional working of castellana ceramics. Castelli is famous all over the world for its ceramics and the decorations for the ceramic Christmas tree were born there.

            It has also been written that in this Abruzzo nativity scene there are references to the history of ancient art, from Greek to Sumerian art, passing through Egyptian sculpture. In some figures we find the experimentation and renewal of ceramic art developed in those years in the Grue high school. The first public display of the nativity scene took place in Castelli in December 1965, then on Christmas 1970 it was taken to Trajan's markets in Rome and in 1975, between Christmas and New Year, he went on a tour to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Tel Aviv. All exhibitions highly appreciated by critics, journalists and visitors.

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