FRENCH NATIVITY ~ ATELIER D'ART ~ SISTERS of BETHLEEM MONASTERY

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  • Item Category: Entertainment
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jan 01,2012
  • Channel: Online Auction
This is a vintage nativity scene by the Sisters of Bethleem Monastery, Atelier D'art Caux France. The Monastère de Bethléem began in a French stable over 50 years ago. They have taken a vow of silence and solitude and live in a community that includes both monks and sisters in male and female sections. The statues are made by the artisan Sisters in their monastery in mougeres France. They use a local dolomite stone from the Pyrenees in the south of France. It is crushed and then resin is added to allow the stone to be cast. The resulting stone, once reconstituted, takes on a rare patina when painted or may be left in its more natural ivoried matte state. The Sisters are also known for their beautiful crèches. The Monastic Family of Bethlehem are part of the Carthusian monks of San Bruno, who are scattered all over the world. The studio is in the monastery of Caux - France. In the monastery, the men create sculptures in wood, while the nuns of the Pyrenees, the stone reproductions of the classic paintings. Their style is characterized by a simplicity typical of their order. This Nativity scene is one of their more vintage works with great detail and emotion, unlike their more recent works that include more plaques and granite style abstract statues with no facial includes. Included is Mary, who has her hands open and is holding the infant Jesus. The infant is a separate statue. There is Joseph, and there is also a monk. I am not sure of the symbolism or source of the monk. There is also a lovely statue of two lambs. Mary measures 11" tall and is about 7 1/2" deep and 5" wide. Joseph is just an inch less in the depth. Besides the magnificent serene facial expressions in the fine ivory effect stone, their ornate vestments are molded with wonderful detail and accented in a bronze metallic glaze that decorates the austere brown. Mary is seated on a decorative stool and Joseph is kneeling on the ground. The figures are marked on the base, Atelier D'art Artisanats Des Monasteres De Bethleem, Mougeres Caux. The figures have a good substance with Mary alone weighing about 7.5 pounds. The figures in this Nativity appear to be no longer available or made. They are not signed as to the individual artisan and information about this order is a bit scarce and esoteric, so I have been unable to research them further, but they are generally attributed to a particular artist artisan. The nativity is in new condition.

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