(Nov. 17, 2009)--In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Ferdinand Pribyl, a Czech Moravian, painted a series of nativities of immense scale, brilliant color and painstaking detail. Through four generations, Pribyl's nativities have been passed to family members and close friends. This holiday season, Pribyl's descendents have chosen to share their family tradition with the Institute of Texan Cultures, which will display two complete Pribyl nativities from Nov. 21 to Jan. 3.
Ferdinand Pribyl's nativities stretch between 8 and 18 feet long. Originally, they were measured to fill entire walls in family members' homes. The Pribyl nativities use cardboard cutout figures placed in a baseboard to add a sense of depth to the panorama.
Pribyl built the nativities from cardboard scavenged from oatmeal boxes, post cards and shirt boxes. The figures stand between four and six inches in height and are painted in meticulous detail. The backgrounds draw on Pribyl's memories of Austria. Vibrant colors bring life to lush green hills, stone buildings, earthy farmhouses and wooden sheds. Central to each nativity scene is the Bethlehem stable with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
Presumably, there were seven Pribyl nativities, painted between the 1890s and early 1900s, each slightly different. Over the years, they have been displayed at various museums, libraries, churches and residences in South Texas.
Ferdinand Pribyl and his family emigrated from his native Moravia in the 1880s and settled in Fayetteville, Texas. They moved to La Grange and then Hallettsville, before joining Ferdinand's brother, Jan, in Victoria. In his late 60s or early 70s with no prior artistic training, Pribyl began work on the nativity scenes.
Bette Stockbauer of Victoria, whose family owns one of the Pribyl nativities, is a descendent of Pribyl's adopted son, Albert Stockbauer. She has had some success in locating other Pribyl nativities around Texas. In addition to the Stockbauer family's nativity, the institute will display a complete Pribyl nativity belonging to the Staha family of Hallettsville, two partial Pribyl sets and a two-dimensional nativity painting, all belonging to other Pribyl descendents.
The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday.
Holiday hours are:
Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65 and over); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification.
For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.
The Mexican American Studies Program will host a screening of this irreverent, entertaining and often disturbing tale that uses both fiction and documentary story telling devices to tear open a painful and long ignored history: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the southwest.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus
Join President Ricardo Romo as he gives his address to the UTSA community.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom (UC 1.104), Main Campus
Join the College of Education and Human Development's Center for Educational Leadership, Policy and Professional Development for a discussion about what passed and what didn't in the last legislative session and what it means for Bexar County Public Schools.
Durango Building Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Main Campus
Graduate School representatives from across the country will provide information on options after earning a bachelor's degree. Students, alumni and community members are welcome.
University Center Retama Galleria, Main Campus
Kickstart your career as an entrepreneur at The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp.
Business Building, Richard S. Liu Auditorium (BB 2.01.02), Main Campus
The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, in partnership with AIA San Antonio’s Latinos in Architecture, presents architect Andrés Jaque, founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an architectural practice dually based in New York and Madrid.
Buena Vista Building, Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus
Looking for a good read? Shop for yourself or for gifts and help change a life at the same time. Browse and buy children’s stories, novels and more at the 2015 SECC Book Sale.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The UTSA Music Department presents Emmy-award winning Composer Larry Groupe. Groupe has composed music for films such as "The Contender," "Straw Dogs" and "Miami Vice," and TV shows such as "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Ren and Stimpy" and "American Gladiators." Lecture is free and open to the public.
Arts Building (2.03.15-18), Main Campus
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As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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