I have such vivid childhood memories of going up into the attic with my siblings to retrieve the boxes with our Christmas décor. Each of us brought down one box as everything fit into five small boxes, the reason being that we only had one nativity set and we did not have a Christmas tree to decorate. My father, a master floral artist created contemporary alternatives to Christmas trees using all sorts of winter green attached to the gnarled wood of old vines.
Our nativity scene was made out of stone, very sleek and modern. The stable was fashioned out of painted steel. I had no great love for this nativity as it left me rather cold and uninspired. I always thought we should have a different nativity.
Years later, during my first visit to the United States I bought a Mexican Nativity and brought it back for my parents as a gift. It was made out of painted clay. The colors were subtle: mostly white and gold with some blue details. I wonder what ever happened to that nativity.
That very purchase was the beginning of my interest in collecting Nativities. Today, whenever I travel I am on the look-out for a new and interesting Nativity. When my friends travel, they do the same. And many a gift I receive is a Nativity. Thus the size of the Christmas closet in my house and the great number of the boxes I bring down today.
Since I am not able to exhibit all my Nativities at home – I limit myself to 100 – many of them are part of a very large seasonal exhibit at The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis, MN, where I work as the director of liturgy and the sacred arts.
Art is not intended to be seen by just a few and one ought not to collect art just for one’s own enjoyment. Art is to be seen by many and is to be shared with all. That is why several of the nativities in my collection are on exhibition in a public space. That is also why I decided to create a website dedicated to nativities.
Internativities is a website in progress. I hope you will return often as new Nativities will be uploaded on a regular basis. More information and images will be added to existing entries and mistakes will be corrected.
If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to add them to the different entries or you may contact me.