This year’s Congreso Nacional Belenista, the 51st such occasion, was held in Alcalá de Henares, a city famed for its connection with Cervantes, among many other things. I’ve been extremely busy with Tolomato Cemetery back here in St Augustine – evidenced by my nearly complete lack of Nativity blog posts this year - but I managed to get to the Congreso, which was, as always, interesting and a great occasion to renew old friendships.
I was particularly impressed this time by the large number of figuristas in the market that is a valuable feature of the conferences.
Montserrat Ribes had her always artistic, subtle figures.
The young man from Granada who produces beautiful clay figures of animals was a real discovery. Below we see a few of his flocks of sheep, accompanied by some very goatish-looking goats.
There were also several figuristas from Andalucía , such as the Sucesores de Angel Martínez, who use these classic molds to make the well known scenes of Southern local life that are part of their belenes in that area.
These are only a few (in which my cellphone photos came out reasonably well) examples of the production of the many and varied sculptors there, and I found it really heartening to see how much new work is being done by contemporary figuristas.