We look first at the chapel facade. On close inspection, the at first glance unprepossessing square front displays a sculpted early doorway, set on classical columns. The arch above the entry is carved with a sequence of stylized rosettes and monograms.
Two unusual moldings in the form of the Franciscan knotted cord span the facade, the upper one supporting relief medallions carved with Franciscan insignia and Christic monograms.
But it is the chapel interior that truly delights. Although rarely open, our intrepid friend Niccolo Brooker recently gained entry, and documented many of its unique features, notably its carved and painted mudéjar ceilings.
A handsome beamed ceiling (alfarje) spans the lofty but narrow nave, leading to the sanctuary or apse—probably a former open chapel—framed by a carved stone archway much like the entry although on a larger scale.
A similar, heavier tiled alfarje roofs the sanctuary, its rear wall painted with a faux gilded retablo in "Solomonic" baroque style.
Featured paintings honor the patron saint St. Matthew and the Virgin of La Candelaria. A colorful Mexican Trinity dressed in red robes adorns the gable.The west end of the chapel is treated similarly, its wooden choir support again ornamented with twisting foliage and angels' heads in red and blue hues and a date of 1731.
text © 2019 Richard D. Perry
color photography © 2018 by Niccolò Brooker