Our presepio depicts the birth of Christ amidst traditional 16th-century Italian village life. It is made up of dozens of figurines and vignettes, sculpted by artists and collected as a set.

Italian, Neapolitan presepio, ca. 1700-1830, painted and gessoed wood, terracotta, fabric, and mixed media; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Wycoff; Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art

Carnegie Trees and Presepio, 2016

Hall of Architecture

Kick off your holidays with a visit to this popular seasonal display, brought to you by Carnegie Museum of Art Women’s Committee. This year’s theme is The Americas, featuring inspirations from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. The theme takes its cue from two exhibitions, Hélio Oiticica, showcasing the legendary Brazilian artist, and Building Optimism: Public Space in South America.

See the Hall of Architecture filled with several towering Colorado spruce trees, each adorned with handcrafted ornaments from committee members and collaborating organizations. The trees flank the museum’s exquisite 18th-century Neapolitan presepio Nativity scene, rare in US collections, together making up a cherished Pittsburgh tradition. Handcrafted between 1700 and 1830, the presepio is filled with lifelike figures and colorful details that re-create the Nativity within a vibrant and detailed panorama of 18th-century Italian village life.

Every day from Noon–3:00 p.m. CMOA docents are available to speak with visitors of all ages about the presepio and the history of this beloved Pittsburgh tradition.

Watch curator Rachel Delphia set up and discuss our presepio!

Exhibition Images

Exhibition Credits

Holidays at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History is supported by Fort Pitt Capital Group.