Tuesday, 29 December 2015

12 Cribs of Christmas 4

 
This set of  marble figurines were carved by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 13th century and they form the oldest known nativity scene. They originally stood in the Oratory of the Presepio , a small chapel which stood outside the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. This chapel was built to resemble the grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The figures were moved in to the church in the 16th century & in doing so Mary & the baby Jesus were damaged (what we see today  are 16th century replacements) This beautiful crib scene is now in the museum below the church.
 
 
Santa Maria Maggiore also holds a relic of Christ's crib. The relic, five pieces of wood held together with a metal band, is situated below the high altar and is housed in a silver and rock crystal urn designed by Valadier.
 
 

The glorious mosaics on the triumphal arch above the altar depict scenes from the Christmas story including the visit of the Magi.




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