See the Bishop family creche collection at Center for Faith & the Arts
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2017
Opening reception Friday, Nov. 10, 6-9 p.m.
The Center for Faith and the Arts will host the Bishop Family Creche Collection in gallery over this holiday season, Nov. 10-Jan. 6.
No one really knows when the first creche (nativity scene) was made. There is evidence that there were nativity figures as early as the 8th century. The idea was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi in Grecco, Italy, in 1223 when he used live animals and a manger in a Christmas Eve Mass.
During the 17th and 18th centuries the art of creche-making reached its peak. The center was Naples, Italy. Sculptors, artists, seamstresses, and woodcarvers earned their living making figures and elaborate scenes of the nativity. Some of their work can be seen in Europen museums today.
The Bishop collection offers over 125 creches from more than 40 different countries. They represent an interpretation of the birth of Jesus from the understanding of people around the world. The figures are in a variety of materials, includng, clay, straw, wood, stone, corn husks, and cloth. The oldest is a German Paper creche from 1888.
The collection began shortly after WWII and grew as Kenneth and Ruth Bishop expanded the scope by collecting unique interpretations, sometimes as gifts from friends and also through their own travels and searches. After Ken Bishop died in 1987, his wife, Ruth, continued to collect and display them until her death in 1999. At that point, their son, Nick, inherited the collection and added his creche collection to the mix.
The collection has not been shown in more than ten years. Acquisitions have continued as new examples of interpretation and materials have been found.
The opening reception is from 6-9 p.m. on Friday. At 7 p.m., Nick Bishop will be giving a talk and slide presentation on the history of creche and the collection. He will also be available by appointment to provide groups tours of the gallery with commentary for a minimum donation to CFA of $25.
Center for Faith and the Arts, 207 W. Harrison St., www.faithart.org