And now, a nativity scene for the Jetsons

And now, a nativity scene for the Jetsons December 4, 2011

It will be on display at the cathedral in Los Angeles this week, according to The Tidings:

The U.S. debut of “Haute Sphere,” a contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene conceived by architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, will take place Dec. 7 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

A public presentation conducted by Archbishop José Gomez begins at 7 p.m. for “Haute Sphere,” which bears witness to the union of design and the technical and artistic savoir-faire of porcelain craftsmanship to present a modern perspective on the Nativity.

“Haute Sphere” is a geodesic dome hand-crafted of 48 triangular panels of bisque porcelain with stars made of porcelain with platinum finish affixed to its interior and measuring 12 feet in height. Its impressive central feature is an engraved circular porcelain disc “aureole” with 24-carat gold finishes that rests on a bed of sand.

The piece has variable lighting that dramatically illuminates the scene and is enhanced by pre-recorded chants in Aramaic — the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus — that lend a meditative quality evoking the mystery of the Christmas season for the spectator.

This unique work was developed after Bernardaud was requested by the Church of the Madeleine in Paris to reprise a European tradition that dates back to the 13th century. In December 2010, it was first displayed at The Church of the Madeleine.

“Bernardaud had never turned its creative force to the objects or symbols associated with Catholics in the practice of their faith,” says Michel Bernardaud, fifth generation CEO. “It was with enthusiasm that we sought Sylvain Dubuisson to help us respond to an appeal from the Madeleine to bring an original perspective to the Nativity scene.”

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17 responses to “And now, a nativity scene for the Jetsons”

  1. I’m sure that there will be lots of people who are horrified at something that is abstract, but I find it striking, if a little startling at first.

    But I have a little quibble: I thought Aramaic became the spoken vernacular of the Jews only after the Babylonian captivity.

  2. Ugly as sin and too clever by half. While probably appropriate for the Cathedral of Los Angeles, it most properly belong on the Vulcan home planet.

    Compare this to the Neopolitan Christmas Creche at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One conveys the glory of the Incarnation and the Nativity. The other proclaims that the Emperor has no clothes.

  3. It looks more like a monstrance than a nativity. I don’t object to abstraction, but there ought to be some clue.

  4. Hm… You may be on to something there. What better than a monstrance for the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus!

  5. I enjoy abstract art, but I wonder, without being in a cathedral, would anyone know it is religious? Shouldn’t it inspire? It is beautiful, and with identification as a nativity, I think it is meditative, but couldn’t it be almost anything?

  6. the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus

    Jesus, yes; presumably Abraham and Moses spoke Hebrew.

  7. I’m glad that Dr. Peters made his comment. I was thinking I was the only one thinking this does not represent anything related to the Nativity. I can see myself stearing at that circle and instead of meditating upon the misteries of the incarnation and birth of our Lord, I’d spend my time wondering how in the world does this relate to the nativity scene! I think it’s ok for a modern art museum, but for a Cathedral? I find myself longing more and more for good old religious art *sigh*.

  8. I am deeply moved. Now that N.Y. Subway tokens have been supplanted by farecards, they must be comforted by the thought that Our Lord took on their form!

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