The Caravaggio inspired Nativity Scene

By Ulderico Pinfildi

If you are visiting Italy, you have to see Naples!

Naples is an incredible city, sunny, chaotic, cultured and aristocratic. It is also a mandatory stopover for those who want to discover Made in Italy.

Today we will share with you a bit about hidden Naples and the painter Caravaggio.

The Pio Monte della Misericorida (Pious Mount of Mercy) is an antique and noble institution in the historic center of the city. It is home to Caravaggio’s celebrated painting “The Seven Works of Mercy” and the Neapolitan nativity scene by Ulderico Pinfildi dedicated to the painter, which resembles a Caravaggio painting in 3D.

Nativity scene or crèches had their golden period in the 1700’s when the noble and rich bourgeoisie competed to produce sought after and spectacular scenes. The most famous Neapolitan sculptor of the 1700’s, Giuseppe Sanmartino (famous for his piece the Veiled Christ), founded the school of nativity scene artists.

The Neapolitan nativity scene is different from all others: the characters represented are not limited only to the Holy Family but also include shepherds, street venders and ordinary people of the time period. The background is no longer the manger in Nazareth but Mount Vesuvius and its surroundings.

"There are only seven characters, all of which are taken from Caravaggio’s paintings!"

Ulderico Pinfildi

The Caravaggio inspired Nativity Scene

Ulderico Pinfildi

Ulderico Pinfildi has been a master of nativity art since 1986. Raised in the ceramic workshop of his father, he learned how to shape the material from a very young age. He is part of a hidden and precious Naples.

A passion for Caravaggio was what moved Ulderigo to create the Neapolitan Nativity scene inspired by the painter!

His Neapolitan Nativity scene is even more unique than the others. The setting is vaster, the dark parts are as important as the light, and the scene is not crowded as in the classic Neapolitan tradition.

There are only seven characters, all of which are taken from Caravaggio’s paintings!

The character of Mary from the painting “Pilgrim’s Madonna” together with one of the two pilgrims, Saint Joseph from “The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” Saint Anne from “The Madonna and Child with St. Anne,” from the work “The Inspiration of Saint Matthew” the figure of the angel, from “Boy with a Basket of Fruit” the boy, and from “The Seven Works of Mercy,” the beggar. The figure of Caravaggio observes the scene and witnesses the artist’s inspiration.

The result is of incomparable beauty!

A Caravaggio painting in 3D.

Bravo Ulderico!

“If you are visiting Italy, you have to see Naples!"

Best of Naples

For Hidden Naples we suggest:

The Pious Mount of Mercy (Pio Monte delle Misericordia), antique and noble institution, where you will find the painting by Caravaggio as well as the nativity scene of Ulderico Pinfildi. After visiting the Nativity, check out the Chapel where Mass is celebrated every day in front of a Caravaggio.

The Workshop of Ulderico Pinfildi near San Gregorio Armeno, the street of Nativity Scenes. A walk between the two is highly recommended.

The “Veiled Christ” of Giuseppe Sanmartino.

• The National Museum of San Martino is not only a spectacular sight but also the point of reference for studies on the Neapolitan Nativity.

Gallery: The Caravaggio inspired Nativity Scene by Ulderico Pinfildi