The Church of Servi di Maria house very precious shepherds of various epochs. In the magnificent baroque religious building, in fact, very rare specimens of 1400, numerous of 1600 besides unfailing pieces of the Neapolitan 1700 are kept.
Among the many treasures kept in the splendid frame of the Church of Servi di Maria of Sorrento, there are some absolutely particular concerning the Christmas crib.
Right in this suggestive church, in fact, we can admire shepherds of inestimable value.
Among these ones two wooden statues depicting Madonna and Saint Joseph stand out, which are considered by experts, as “the only example of the earliest shepherds which began to appear in churches and oratories in the Neapolitan area towards the end of 1400”.
Actually, inside the Church of Servi di Maria itself, in a small chapel situated at the right of the high altar, we can admire also a stable crib of reasonable sizes enriched with the presence of almost forty shepherds of the 18th century.
They are the so-called seicentoni, in a perfect state, differing from the more famous and refined 18th-century specimens, both for the expressions of their faces and for their squat shapes, and finally, for their height.
The shepherds of 1600, in fact, in reaching 40 centimetres, were surely higher than those made in the following century.
An only exception concerns the so-called Holy Family: the small statues of the Madonna, of Saint Joseph and of the two flying Angels were made in the following century (as also we can see by noting the greater refinement in the features of these specimens, respecting the characteristics typical of the production of 18th-century shepherds.
Infant Jesus, finally, deserves a special attention as it was sculptured in wood and is one of the few specimens of the time present in the area.
As to the scenographical aspects, instead, we have to say that the crib of the Congregazionella (this is the name with which a lot of people from Sorrento call the Church of Servi di Maria) shows, foreground, a scene of the Nativity set among the ruins of a temple in eastern style.
The rock was not made by using cork, but with cypress wood.
Another piece of remarkable importance contributes to completing the rich collection of the Congregazionella. It is a wonderful terracotta Infant Jesus.
It lies in a refined and precious silver cradle, distinguishing itself for the delicacy of its shape and chisel.
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