Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 29 Jun 2011 06:13 pm

Fontanini and Other Studios Produce Artistic Nativity Creches

In 2008, the Fontanini family celebrated its 100th anniversary in the religious statue business, a tradition which has spanned four generations. Originally founded by Emanuele Fontanini in the hills of Tuscany, the company is considered to be one of the premier manufacturers of nativity figures in the world.

In addition to creating amazingly detailed and vivid smaller nativity cr鑓hes, Fontanini also produces life size figures of the Holy Family. Made in Italy, these colorful and expressive statues are up to 70 inches tall. Fontanini nativity figures can be purchased individually or as a complete nativity scene. Institutions, such as churches, hospitals, and Catholic schools, may sometimes start out with a nativity scene of the Holy Family, and then supplement it, later on, with statues of the 3 kings, angels, Fontanini shepherds, and biblical animals. While not essential, a wood outdoor nativity stable gives Christmas nativity cr鑓hes a more finished look.

The three kings – King Balthazar, King Gaspar, and King Melchoir — are up to 50 inches tall and weigh between 78 and 110 poiunds. When you view enlargements of the online photographs of the 3 kings, it’s easy to imagine the striking effect these Fontanini figures would have on visitors. The facial expressions, elaborate garments, and attention to other details are among the features that make these artistic creations stand out among other nativity cr鑓hes on the market.

The range of life size or even larger-than-life size biblical animals and other accessories that can be purchased from Fontanini or other nativity set companies is also something to consider when shopping for nativity cr鑓hes. A good way to add more visual interest and diversity to a Christmas nativity scene is by adding a Fontanini donkey, ox, or sheep to the display. The donkeys and oxen are available in a lying down position (with their heads up) and the sheep nativity statues (one of which is a lamb) are available in both standing and lying down positions.

The figures in a “large” Fontanini nativity set — as opposed to “life size” – are up to 27 inches tall, and can also be purchased individually or in a set of 14 pieces. Referred to as “The Masterpiece Collection”, it includes the Holy Family, the three kings, a shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders, three sheep, an ox, two heavenly angels, and a placid-looking camel with its legs folded.

If a Fontanini nativity set is outside of your budget, then some other worthwhile sources to consider for Christmas nativity cr鑓hes include Joseph’s Studio, Barcana Inc., and Bay Designs. A two-dimensional alternative to Fontanini nativity sets is available through a company called Langelier Designs. Each figure is made of water-resistant wood and is signed by the artist. It’s suggested that a floodlight be used to illuminate nativity scenes at night.

Whether you’re considering a nativity set for your church, school, hospital, business, or home, there are a wide variety of different sizes, prices, and styles for nearly every situation.

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