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Art & Museums

Beloved books bedeck Carnegie Museum of Art Christmas trees

Shirley McMarlin
| Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
The annual Hall of Trees and Presepio nativity display run through Jan. 7 in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland. Pictured is the 2014 'Winter Wonders' display.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The annual Hall of Trees and Presepio nativity display run through Jan. 7 in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland. Pictured is the 2014 'Winter Wonders' display.
The Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland contains more than 100 human and angelic figures.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland contains more than 100 human and angelic figures.
Baby Jesus and Mary in a scene from the Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
Baby Jesus and Mary in a scene from the Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.
The Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland in 2014.
Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media
The Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland in 2014.

“Beloved Children's Books” is the theme for this year's Hall of Trees , on display through Jan. 7 in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.

Decorations on the five Colorado spruce trees were inspired by “The Cat in the Hat,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Jungle Book” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Second- and third-grade classes at Liberty Elementary School in Shadyside were in charge of one tree, while staffers at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History took on another, says Jonathan Gaugler, the museum's media relations manager.

The other three trees were decorated by members of the museum's Women's Committee, which sponsors the annual display.

“The ornaments are indeed made for the occasion by the folks participating in each tree,” Gaugler says.

The trees flank the museum's 18th-century Neapolitan presepio, a nativity scene handcrafted in Naples between 1700 and 1830. The presepio is filled with lifelike figures and colorful details that recreate the nativity within a panorama of 18th-century Italian village life.

The presepio, which includes more than 100 human and angelic figures, animals, accessories and architectural elements, covers a 250-square-foot area.

The set was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. George Magee Wyckoff from an Italian collector as a gift for the museum and was brought into the collection in 1956, Gaugler says.

Founded in 1957, the Women's Committee has funded the purchase of art for the collections, contributed to the museum's infrastructure and gallery renovations and donated to its endowment and capital campaigns.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays, and until 8 p.m. Thursdays. Admission is $19.95, $14.95 ages 65 and up; $11.95 students and ages 3-18. Details: 412-622-3131 or cmoa.org

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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