The Italian Nativity: Il Presepe

Cultural Landscapes of the Soul
- (4 - 5am)

College of the Holy Cross
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610
United States

Curated by:
Margot Balboni, Independent Curator and Photographer
Sarah Stanbury, Monsignor Murray Professor in the Arts and Humanities, College of the Holy Cross

This exhibit showcases a collaborative project on an important form of Italian installation art — the nativity scene, or the presepe. The significance of the presepe in art history and Italian culture is little known in the United States. The exhibit will include approximately 50 of Balboni’s photographs of nativity scenes from the 13th century to today, along with her photographs of artists at work in contemporary workshops in Rome, Naples and Puglia, where the presepe has developed distinct regional vernaculars. The photos will be juxtaposed with antique etchings and maps to anchor the nativities in context with both art history and Italian cultural history. There will be a number of Italian nativities on loan from private collectors and institutions. Balboni has also created a number of new works that move beyond direct documentary to explore ritual, memory and landscape.