Church of St. Catherine of Portoria

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Toward the light

Toward the light

In the occasion of Christmas 2003, a remarkable crib complex has been shown in the auditorium of the church of St. Catherine of Portoria. Most dummy figures of this installation come from Sarzana's Capuchin friary and the most interesting and precious ones are the three Kings and their precious cortege, dating back to 18th century. Other figure are slightly more recent, some carved by the Capuchins themselves by the end of 19th century.
One peculiarity of the scene is that many characters of the Nativity scene, such as Mary and Joseph, as well as the ox and the donkey, do not appear in this crib. The Holy Child dominates the representation and emanates a mighty light.

The light

The light

This choice was most probably made based on the figures that were available and that represented too outstanding a set to be mixed with some more conventional elements. However, the result is extremely evocative, also thanks to the location in the auditorium, dominating the church from above and from which the vast church nave is visible through a glass wall.

Bianco e nero

Black and white


The title of this crib is "Walking toward the light" and light is the center of the scene. The dominant colors are black and white, also symbols of the conflict between good and evil. A child is born and radiates a powerful light. The entire mankind is gathered in front of him, as represented by some exemplary figures. In foreground, we find the characters that already received illumination, two persons of different color that welcome themselves reciprocally. Below them, a group of soldiers and the crowd are still occupied in futile activities. A beggar, a typical feature in the Genoase crib, stands in sharp contrast to the splendor of the Kings' splendid cortege. The two white Kings are already in adoration, while the dark King is still approaching, with his magnificent train of attendants.





Mago nero

The black King



WHERE ~ The creche is located in the auditorium of the church of the SS. Annunziata (Our Holy Lady of the Annunciation) in Portoria, an ancient quarter in Genoa. This church is better known by common people as church of St. Catherine from Genoa because the famous Genoese Saint was buried there. It was built in 1488 and, in front of its fine Renaissance door (1512), there was once a beautiful little square, now reduced to an even smaller space because of the presence of imposing modern buildings, such as the new palace for the court of justice, which hide the church.

	A statue on the stairs

A statue on the stairs

Some information was taken from publications of ~ Comune di Genova~

Carla Marchetti ~ 2004
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