Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Jalisco Retablos: Aranzazú, San José

The Aranzazú Chapel

The Retablo of San José

In our second post on the Aranzazú chapel altarpieces we look at the side retablo of San José—the most profusely ornamented of the two major lateral altarpieces which takes the late Mexican Churrigueresque to the limit.

Although following the same overall format as the main retablo, here all the elements project aggressively, in contrast to the more laid back, anástilo framing of the former.

Exaggerated foliage, scrollwork, broken cornices and swirling mixtlinear ornament of the estípites and niche pilasters alike thrust themselves forward, all the more forcefully for the viewer given the narrow nave of the chapel.

The iconography is ecumenical. Jesuit and Franciscan saints share the spotlight with others like St Augustine and the Carmelite Teresa of Avila. The Basque origin of the Virgin of Aranzazu may explain the Jesuit presence.

St Joseph with the Christ Child take place of honor in the center vitrine flanked by St Francis Xavier and Santa Teresa.

Above, Ignatius Loyola occupies the center niche with St Augustine and St John Nepomuc on either side.
Numerous other, mostly Franciscan, saints appear in the smaller oval and cameo reliefs on the pilasters, along with a profusion of cherubs and angel heads across the entire retablo.

text © 2013 Richard D. Perry.  
based in part on articles by Verónica Hernández Díaz 
Photography: Catedrales e iglesias and others

No comments:

Post a Comment