In the mid 19th century a few Neapolitan artists began creating micro-miniature Creche sculptures that were as realistic in appearance as their larger counterparts. Micro-miniature scenes soon became very desirable. Most of the scenery was built of Sicilian cork, wood and plaster, while the figures were hand sculpted of terracotta. Some artists worked solely in terracotta, while others carved central figures and background elements from semi-precious stones or aquatic materials such as shells or coral.
One of the artists we work with, a retired medical doctor residing on the island of Capri, spends much of his time gardening and creating one-of-a-kind miniature Crèche scenes for Angeli Art Imports. Tiny figures, shepherds, angels, birds and animals are hand sculpted of terracotta, kiln fired and hand painted. Background scenery is hand constructed from Sicilian cork and wood, layered in gesso, sculpted, texturized and hand painted. The artist traverses the island in search of authentic materials for use in his scenes. A close look will reveal the natural lichen used for greenery. These scenes are limited to 50-60 sculptures per year.
Another of our contracted artists, drawing inspiration from the bay of Naples, and long familiar with the craft, specializes in miniature Nativity scenes sculpted entirely from terracotta. The coin visible in the accompanying photo, emphasizes the detail and the scale of these individually sculpted figures. Terracotta scenes are limited to 40 per year.
Each one-of-a-kind scene is entirely hand-made and signed by the artist. The removable glass domes are hand blown in Italy and are availble in three round and two oval sizes. The oval domes, particularly, require a high level of skill in the art of glass blowing. Custom Crèche and garden scenes may be commissioned.