Tag Archives: Europe

  • Santon figurines on shelf of store in France

    4 Amazing Nativity Set Traditions from Europe

    There is perhaps no more meaningful way to celebrate the birth of Christ than by displaying a crèche. Since St. Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene in 1223, the idea of the Christmas crèche has spread throughout the world. Since the crèche is both a representation of faith and an art form, many

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  • Handmade nativity scene by Fonantini

    How Fontanini Became the Most Famous Nativity Sets in the World

    If you grew up with a nativity set in your home that was a family heirloom, chances are pretty good that is was a Fontanini Nativity set. The Fontanini tradition dates back to the late 1800s when company founder Emanuele Fontanini began creating crèche figures in the little town of Bagni di Lucca located in

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  • Nativity scene exhibition in Europe

    Creche Traditions in Europe: A History

    The nativity scenes we know and recognize today have their roots in centuries of European traditions dating back to the 12th century. These early nativity scenes were usually made of terra cotta and were displayed year round in churches in the 1300s. Historians believe that around the year 1289, artist Arnolfo di Cambio carved one

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  • depiction of Christ birth in art

    The Art of the Nativity: Paintings

    It comes as no surprise that one of the world’s best-loved stories – the story of the birth of Jesus – has been the subject of many artists’ work over the centuries. One of the oldest known paintings of the Nativity is a faded fresco on the Roman catacombs of St. Sebastiano. It bears the

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  • Painting of adoration of magi from middle ages

    Medieval Theater and the Creche

    During the Middle Ages, in the days before the printing press, church services were in Latin and the few Bibles that existed were kept in the church – often chained to a lectern. Even if Bibles were available, most laypeople people would not have been able to read them, as illiteracy rates were high during

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  • crib for baby Jesus, or presepe

    What are Presepios? (And What Are Politicians Doing in the Manger?)

    Every year on December 8 – a day known as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – many Italian families take pride in displaying a presepio, or nativity scene, in their homes. In addition to the Holy Family, shepherds and animals, Italian presepios include townspeople and elaborate details such as lighting and even running water.

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