Sep 24, 2010

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Christmas Comes Early to the
Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
with Opening of “Presepio” Show
Saturday, October 9
On Saturday, October 9 from 5-7 p.m., the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum will host a free artist’s reception for the opening of “Presepio,” an exhibition of photographs by Anita Sanseverino. An award-winning photographer, lecturer and scholar of Italian history and culture, Sanseverino’s passionate eye and studied knowledge of Italy uniquely capture the beauty, emotion and character of these elaborate Italian nativity scenes.

It is believed the first presepio was created by Arnolfo di Cambio around 1289—and several figures from it still survive in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Down through the centuries the tradition of the presepio evolved—from lifesize recreations of the birth of Jesus staged by St. Francis of Assisi, to painted and carved figures placed at special altars and chapels in churches, to opulent scenes created in the homes of the aristocracy, to the manger scenes that are such a part of our Christmas celebrations today.

The figures created by the artisans of Naples are the modern masterpieces of presepio art, so in July 2008 and 2009 Sanseverino went there to photograph. She explains, “September through January is their busiest time, finishing the figures, and selling them in the short period they have when people from all over the world come to Naples to buy these spectacular handmade works of art. By going in July, I could take my time in uncrowded conditions, and talk to the proprietors and artisans as well. The people in these shops went out of their way to help me obtain the shots and information I needed.” These photos grew into the show, “Presepio.”

Sanseverino is a recipient of the Woman of Achievement in the Arts Award (New Jersey). She has had solo exhibitions at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center, Wagner College, Ramapo College and the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Her photographs are on permanent display at the Frederick Gallery in Spring Lake, New Jersey and at Wagner College, and are held in various private collections in the United States, Italy, and Argentina.

After the opening, the show can be seen during regular museum hours, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with paid museum admission of $5 (members are free.) This show will close January 2, 2011.

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