The ancient monastic refectory of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme reveals to crib lovers the art a treasure of tiny, accurate and colorful handmade creations, where trunks and tree roots are the backdrop to many original representations of the nativity. The artist Stefano Pucci, who exhibits his works this year from 10 December to 19 January, tells us that the idea of using tree roots as a frame for a miniature Christmas village began in 1998. The idea of the crib with vertical and 360° development arises from the need for space and time, that is to say to adapt it to any context, occupying as little as possible the environment that surrounds it and to create something lasting without having to decompose and recompose the pieces anymore and year after year.The raw wood, finely worked by the artist, with its natural knots, weaves and curves, turns into a small and perfect network of natural caves, paths, climbs and downhills where to place, trees, little houses, figurines of characters and animals. Activating lights, reels and water games, the artist has created numerous small villages in trees, each one different in shape and style, all equipped with an accurate lighting system of various colours. Maple, fig, cherry, fir, pine, walnut and olive are the most common varieties, those that the artist has collected along the paths in the Castelli Romani area. The style is given by the objects chosen for the installation, in ceramic or in wood, coming from every part of Italy. Looking at every little creation, the initial astonishment and wonder that one feels in front of such a perfect reproduction soon make place for a delicate immersion in the Christmas atmosphere which, with its call to tradition, takes us back in time and between memories, to relive the way in which each of us has interpreted this art and to get closer to an artist who, year after year, faces the subject in the same spirit as when he was a child.

BASILICA OF SANTA CROCE IN JERUSALEM – Sala Refettorio. Piazza S. Croce in Gerusalemme, 12. Information: Tel. 0670613053. Opening hours: every day 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3.30-6.30 p.m..

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