For the Christmas period, Palazzo Reale offers an opportunity to see the palace’s magnificent “nativity scene”. Following the conclusion of a long and delicate restoration, the Genoese palace has organized the exhibition of the entire complex of the monumental Genoese crib composed of over eighty figures.
The exceptional ensemble, commissioned by the House of Savoy in the first quarter of the nineteenth century from the Genoese artist Giovanni Battista Garaventa, highlights the artisan’s mastery of a cultured and refined sculptural language which follows in the footsteps of the finest Marquisian tradition. It consists of figures between 40 and 70 cm high, mostly carved wooden mannequins and costumes of extraordinary quality and richness, featuring silver details and using gold trim & embroidery. In addition to the Holy Family and angels, it includes the Magi, a crowd of shepherds and a selection of horse, sheep, goats and farm animals.
Only in 1988 was it attributed to its true author, overturning an older attribution to Maragliano, Pittaluga and Ciurlo. At Christmas 2017, a first selection of 30 mannequins emerged from their restoration and were exhibited in the Royal Palace’s Ballroom.
Born in Genoa in 1777, Garaventa, a student of the academy, was active mainly as a carver of processional coffers and sacred images, as a restorer of ancient sculptures and a modeller of decorative and ephemeral pieces.