Passions & Places

Presepe by Federico Brandani

Nativity scene by Federico Brandani
Federico Brandani (1525-1575)
Presepe (1545-1550)
Oratorio di San Giuseppe


The Urbino artist mainly worked in the ducal city. He was a sculptor and a stuccoer. He was at Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro court.

The nativity scene at San Giuseppe oratory is a refined stucco masterpiece. Elegance and experimentation with forms create a matchless sculptural model.

The Nativity iconography was solemnly respected by using all the elements characterizing the figurative tradition that has become a treasure in the Art of making Cribs.


The setting in the cave doesn’t prevent the artist to build an architectonic background. The two roofs built, one of which is triangular and shelters the characters, are conceived according to the Platonic geometrical concepts as symbols of divine perfection.

The ox and ass in Brandani scene, belong to the Artistic panorama since IV century. They were in fact named in the Apocryphal Gospel by Pseudo-Matthew for the first time. The two animals were also named in Isaia prophet 1,3: ”the ox knows the owner and the ass the manger of the master".

The composition core is the figure of Jesus and the other characters develop around it.

The Madonna is leaned over the fruit of her womb and she also participates at the ecstatic admiration of the Infant. The shepherds patiently wait in the middle of the night. They understand the beautiful event that they are witnessing.

  The artist ability to make the volumetric figures naturally, is coupled with the expressive connotation of each figure depicted in an original position. The luministic values are expressed in the twilight areas. They are stressed in the drapes and in the well articulated poses.

  by Sara Tassi
Translated by Guendalina Santini
for  Paradise Possible

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