The Oldest Nativity Scene

After a visit to the Holy Land, Saint Francis of Assisi created the first nativity scene in 1223. The first nativity scenes were living depictions of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Magi, shepherds, and animals from the descriptions in the Gospels. Later nativity scenes were permanent displays with statues of wood or stone. The oldest surviving nativity scene is housed in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It was sculpted in marble by Arnolfo di Cambio in the late 13th century.

Tomorrow, Modern Secular Christmas Art   Rita Bay

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