Sunday, June 17, 2018

Calpan. The Posa Chapels 4

In our previous posts we looked at three of the four posa chapels at Calpan. Here we look at the fourth and perhaps most intriguing, the southwest posa, dedicated to the Archangel Michael.
chapel of St Michael, north face
4. The Southwest Posa
This extraordinary chapel displays two sculpted faces. Over the north facing entry the Archangel Michael, the patron saint, is identified by name and occupies the center spot  He raises his sword in triumph as the vanquished devil clutches at his leg. Michael is flanked by the two other principal archangels, Gabriel and Raphael.
The Archangel Michael
Carved bands of alternating hearts and shells entwined in foliage frame the archway.
chapel of St Michael, east face
But the piéce de résistance here is the expansive relief of the Last Judgment which fills the east facade, a sculptural masterpiece derived from a 15th century woodcut.
Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, The Last Judgment,
 from The Nuremburg Chronicle (Nuremburg, Germany 1493), woodcut.

reprinted in the Flos Sanctorum Spanish edition (Zaragoza 1521)
Christ sits in Majesty in the center, wearing a radiant tiara of the Tres Potencias, symbolizing the three powers of the soul: memory, understanding and will.  He is flanked by a lily and a sword, respective emblems of salvation and damnation. Angels blowing a horn and bearing the Instruments of the Passion float below.
Large reliefs of the Virgin Mary (left) and John the Baptist (right) kneel on either side, interceding for the diminutive souls rising from their gaping coffins below.  Latin inscriptions beside them read respectively, "Intercede O Sacred Virgin and pray for us. 1 and "The Lord judges all of them. 2
The dead rising to judgment
The Latin text below Christ reads: "Rise, ye Dead and Come to Judgment."3  
One significant difference from the original woodcut is the addition of these inscriptions, which add powerful emphasis to the overall message.
1.   Intercede Virgo Sacra ora pro nobis
2.   Dedit illi Dominus omne iudicio
3.   Surgite mortui venite ad iudicium
Winged angels and Gothic crockets climb the steep sides of the roof, towards the crowning papal tiara of St. Peter, the keeper of the gate to Paradise.
Please review our other posts with mention of the Last Judgment:
 El LlanitoTotimehuacanSuchixtlahuacaHuaquechulaYanhuitlan; Xoxoteco; Actopan; Cuitzeo; Ixmiquilpan;
text © 2018 Richard D. Perry 
photography by Carolyn Brown, Patrice Schmitz and the author

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