The massive nativity scene, which includes one hundred terracotta figures, is the work of Francesco Artese, one of the most famous exponents of the southern school of traditional nativity sculpture. The most striking characteristic of Artese's work is his recreation of landscapes of the Stones of Matera and his reproduction of scenes of rural life. Indeed, the nativity of St. Peter's Square is reminiscent of locations in the Holy Land.
According to communique published yesterday, "The Lucanian landscape has been enriched by the work of religious people who have chosen to live there, transforming these places into a human settlement rich in holiness, building 154 rupestrian churches, monasteries and sanctuaries which, from the high Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, have shaped the identity of a vast area which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site."
The communique goes on to say that the nativity crèche, though inspired by traditional iconographic style, will also be unique by incorporating "elements reproducing locations and architecture typical of the Lucanian landscape."
"Artese has chosen to dress the Holy Family with costumes in the classic tradition," the communique stated.
The Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State will be entrusted with the installation of the crèche.