Considered as one of the most beautiful nativity scenes ever made, so far I had only been to Madrid twice: in 1961 at the Museo de Artes Decorativas and in 1998 at the Palacio Real.
It is a work carried out in the XVIII century by the Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo. It was commissioned by Jesualdo Riquelme y Fontes to decorate his palace and completed by Roque López. It is composed of 556 figures of 25-30 centimeters, made of terracotta, wood and cardboard.
Based on the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. LukeSalzillo tells the story of the history of the birth of Christ in chronological order, from the Annunciation to the flight from Egypt. Mixing religious scenes with others of costumbrista character, it is a faithful reflection of many of the traditions that portray the society of the 18th century. It is based on the Neapolitan nativity scene tradition and its elaboration created an authentic school of nativity scenes that has survived in Murcia to this day.
The Nativity Scene was acquired in 1915, when the Marquis of Corvera offered it to the State for purchase. At first it was exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts of Murcia, until in 1958 it became part of the funds of the Salzillo Museum.
More information. The Nativity Scene of Francisco Salzillo. Centrocentro. Plaza de Cibeles s/n. Admission: 1 €. Hours: from 10:00 to 20:00 except December 24, 25 and 31 and January 5 6: from 10:00 to 14:00. until February 2, 2014.