15 Dec Interesting: History of sculpture in wood
The history of wood carving in Val Gardena has a long and important tradition that dates back to the 16th century. Then, woodworking was a complementary activity that was carried out mainly in the winter months, very long and cold in the Ladin valley. Initially, the Gardian sculptors carved small animals and objects of domestic use that were then exported across the continent. In the years to follow and refined the carving technique, the craftsmen began to make wooden toys and sacred figures as saints. The increasingly skilled hands of the Val Gardena artists developed new styles of workmanship and a very wide range of sacred and profane art. What initially was a pastime for a few people, in 1800 began to become a real job for many inhabitants.
Not only the statues were made by hand with specific chisels, but also painted by the skilled hands of local painters. The wooden figures made were now mainly of a sacred nature: Madonnas , little angels , crucifixes and nativity scenes . It is not by chance that the largest wooden crib in the world is a work created by a group of sculptors from Val Gardena and can be visited all year round at the Iman Center in Santa Cristina in Val Gardena.
The process of industrialization meant that woodwork became more massive, without however influencing the artistic and creative activity of the craftsmen. Even today, in fact, the work done entirely by hand is certified with a mark affixed to the sculpture itself. The Val Gardena artists continue to carve the wooden figures, carrying on this important Ladin cultural tradition.