A Christmas Eve Renaissance

Italian Painted Terra-cotta Angels after Michelangelo (LEO Design)

‘Tis Christmas Eve, when Christians around the world prepare for the coming of the infant Jesus.  Here at LEO Design, we prepare by placing a pair of (late Twentieth Century) Italian Renaissance angels into the shop window—in what’s become our Christmas Eve tradition.

The same-sized originals—carved of marble by a teenaged Michelangelo—are found upon the Arca di San Domenico, the sensational marble tomb of St. Dominic (founder of the Dominican Order) in Bologna, Italy.  The ambitious tomb and altarpiece took nearly 500 years to complete.  It was begun in 1264 by Nicola Pisano to house the remains of the saint who died some 43 years earlier.  Over the centuries, the work was executed by many of Italy’s best artists—including the 19 year old Michelangelo.  In the face of the male angel, one can see a foreshadowing of the sculptor’s David, completed some ten years later.

I purchased these angels with every intention of selling them.  After three consecutive years of installing them into the window (on Christmas Eve)—with nary a query from a prospective purchaser—I decided I would keep them for the store (and the new-found tradition would continue).  Of course, from that point on, I’ve had many an interested client! Each year on the 24th—around an hour before closing—we unwrap and process to the front of the shop where the angels spend the rest of Christmas Eve (and Christmas, and the week leading to New Year’s Day).

May you have a joyful Christmas Eve!

LEO Design is open today, Christmas Eve, from Noon ’til 8:00 pm.