The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial celebrates the yuletide season with an installation of a traditional Italian presepio in Fleisher’s Frank and Betty Louchheim Lobby, 719 Catharine Street in South Philadelphia. Fleisher will be closed for the holidays on December 22 through 25 and December 29 through January 1, 2008—however, when the lobby is closed, the display will be illuminated and visible through the lobby windows facing Polumbo Park. Hours for the presepio are 11:00 AM to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
The Neapolitan presepio is a representation of the Christmas nativity scene, set in a theatrical 18th-century version of the famous Italian city, Naples. In this elaborate setting of classical ruins, you will not only find the traditional shepherds but also vendors, farmers, trades people, peasants and members of high society - all going about their daily business seemingly unaware of the birth of the Christ child in their midst. The members of the Holy Family, the Magi and the Angels are the only figures related to the biblical story. The other figures reflect daily life in Naples, which was also an international port populated by many exotic visitors – Africans, Samaritans, Arabs and Asians.
This presepio is made up of more than a hundred pieces collected by the late Elizabeth Evans and was donated to the Fleisher Art Memorial by her sisters, Marcia Evans and Suzanne Hoyle-Rhodes. Ms. Evans spent more than thirty years collecting these amazing late 19th- and early 20th-century ceramic figurines during her annual visits to Italy.
To learn more about Fleisher’s Neapolitan presepio, please come in and discover this traditional Italian art form.
The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial is widely known as the country’s oldest free and low-tuition visual arts program for adults and children. Founded as the Graphic Sketch Club in 1898, Fleisher has been a vital educational resource that includes instruction in the visual arts, a vibrant exhibitions program, and youth outreach programming at public schools and community centers throughout Philadelphia. Visit www.fleisher.org to learn more.
Fleisher exhibition programs are supported in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.