The Met continues a longstanding holiday tradition with the presentation of its Christmas tree and 18th-century Neapolitan crèche, a favorite of both New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. The installation is set in front of the 18th-century Spanish choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid in the Museum's Medieval Sculpture Hall (gallery 305). Recorded Christmas music and daily lighting events add to the enjoyment of the holiday display.
The magnificently lit, 20-foot blue spruce is gracefully adorned with 19 cherubs and 59 angels, while at the base an additional 71 figures represent the three elements of Nativity scenes that were traditional to 18th-century Naples: adoring shepherds and their flocks, the procession of the three Magi, and spirited peasants and townspeople. The display is enhanced by nearly 50 charming animals and by background pieces that create a dramatic setting for the Nativity; these include the ruins of a Roman temple, several quaint houses, and a typical Italian fountain.
Tree-lighting ceremonies take place at 4:30 pm daily, with additional ceremonies on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.