Bethlehem Tree: Younger Foundation Crèche Collection
December 6, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Trustmark Grand Hall
This inspiring display features more than 150 authentic eighteenth-century Neapolitan angel and Nativity figures in an opulent Italian crèche setting surrounding a traditional Christmas tree. In addition to the figures of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and the Three Magi, the collection includes a host of angels and more than 75 townspeople from all walks of life.
The Bethlehem Tree collection was inspired by a 1985 trip to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) by Mrs. Jewell Younger Graeber of Marks, Mississippi. There she first viewed the world-renowned Angel Tree exhibition and was so moved that she began to build her own collection of handcrafted Italian figures through private venues and auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s. She lovingly acquired the figures in this magnificent display over more than twenty years, in order to share the collection with the children of Mississippi. Like those on display at the Met, the figures in the Younger collection are made of metal wrapped in hemp. The heads and shoulders are painted terra cotta; the eyes, glass. Hands and feet are made of wood. Each figure is dressed in a costume of meticulous and minute detail.
Admission: Free, open to the public.