Nativity Scenes and Dioramas

By Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Christmas nativity scene (1970/1980)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

The nativity scenes in the crypt of the Upper Basilica
The lateral halls and the crypt of the Upper Basilica host a rich collection of nativity scenes coming from the five continents. The permanent exhibition, which enriches the already large cultural patrimony of the Sanctuary, was created thanks to the donation of two citizens of the city of Biella with a specific interest for such form of religious art, Arnaldo Zona and Giuseppe Alvigini. The extraordinary collection, embodying the synthesis of faith and art, displays approximately 50 nativity scenes from the five continents: the austere wooden compositions made in Germany, the exotic and colourful nativity scenes from Peru, the refined Bohemian glass creations and the vivid, unusual scenes made with banana leaves from Africa. These works of art are ethnic-influenced representations of the birth of Jesus, the result of the encounter between religious spirituality and local folklore, and a precious testimony of faith crossing the boundaries of space and time.

Nativty scene from Sardinia.
The characters wear the traditional clothes of the Region

The characters play the traditional instruments

Christmas nativity scene (1970/1980)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene from Mexico

Christmas nativity scene (1970/1980)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

In Peru the cribs are made up of a sort of altar with wings (the San Marcos) painted with colorful flowers and containing hundreds of figurines

Nativity scene (1990)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene (1990)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene from Colombia

Nativity scene (1990)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene from Alaska

Nativity scene (1990)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene from Mozambico made with banana leaves

Nativity scene (1990)Santuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Nativity scene from Philippines

Diorama (1990) by Brothers Castells and Alberto FinizioSantuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

The dioramas
In the lateral halls of the Upper Basilic are displayed a series of dioramas realized by the brothers Castells from Barcelona and the Rome-based artist Alberto Finizio. The subject is the life of Jesus. The dioramas illustrate episodes of the Scriptures and the Gospels through three-dimensional scenes, whose subject is the life of Jesus from the Annunciation to the Passion and Resurrection. The word ‘diorama’ derives from the Greek dià, ‘through’, and hòrama, view, literally signifying a ‘view through the screen’. The episodes, displayed in suggestive glass cases, show a remarkable for the use of perspective.

Diorama (1990) by Brothers Castells and Alberto FinizioSantuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Agony in the garden

Diorama (1990) by Brothers Castells and Alberto FinizioSantuario e Sacro Monte di Oropa

Via Crucis

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