Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art

Art Illuminating the Spirit

Past Exhibitions

Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan

November 23, 2013 – January 12, 2014

The story of Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child has great appeal throughout the world as a story of a family facing hardship with hope. See how artists across the globe depict the Nativity. From Armenia to Zimbabwe, learn how artists recreate the scene with clothing, architecture, and figures from their native lands. Remarkable in its variety of medium and scale, this generous gift from James and Emilia Govan and its annual exhibition promises to be a memorable tradition for families of all faiths.

Opening Reception:
Thursday, December 5, 5:30–7:00 p.m.
$15 / Members and Loyola, faculty, staff and students: Free

Image: Mario Mendoza, Argentina (Jujuy), 2009, clay and paint, The James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection, Loyola University Museum of Art


Since the first Art and Faith of the Crèche in 2007, LUMA has offered our members and friends the opportunity to honor their heritage, friends, or loved ones by sponsoring a nativity scene in the exhibition. The $150 sponsorship gives you the opportunity to have name(s) of your choosing displayed on the label of the selected crèche. Your sponsorship will also be prominently listed in the members’ magazine, The LUMANARY. Your sponsorship helps us to care for this collection and present this wonderful exhibition every year.

Click here‌ (PDF) to download the crèche sponsorship form.

Please return this form with payment to:
Loyola University Museum of Art
Attention: Ann Fruland
820 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Questions? Contact Ann Fruland at efruland@luc.edu or 312.915.6719. Thank you for your support!

The Gaucho Nativity created by Mario Mendoza from Argentina

For the 2013–2014 presentation of Art and Faith of the Crèche, LUMA has selected a crèche to honor Pope Francis, who was born in Buenos Aires in 1936. Argentinian by birth, he was elected to the Papacy in 2013. He is the first Pope chosen for this sacred office from the Society of Jesus. This unique crèche offers a slice of Latin American flair for those who appreciate the new Pope’s passion for humility, support for the world’s impoverished, and commitment to building bridges between peoples of all faiths. Placed in a prominent location in the museum and displayed throughout the fall, this one-of-a-kind crèche sponsorship is available for $1,000.

Commissioned by James Govan in 2009, The Gaucho Nativity represents the people of Tierra del Fuego in the southern region of Argentina. In this crèche, a couple dances the gato, a fast waltz, as local musicians perform; the ox-drawn cart, once prevalent on the streets of Argentina, has become a part of local history; a rhea, considered the largest known species of bird and native to South America, graces the scene; and the three wise men wearing native clothing offer gifts of silverware, a vessel, and eggs in a basket. A paisana, or country woman, is baking empanadas in a clay oven with her son. Finally, the Holy Family is depicted next to an aljibe, or well, perhaps used here as the symbol of life and rebirth. The scene depicts a true celebration of the birth of Christ.

This crèche has been generously sponsored by Ms. Joyce Ruth Saxon, a Martin D'Arcy Society member and LUMA docent.