Thursday, September 14, 2023
Monday, August 28, 2023
San Lorenzo Xochimanca is best known for its well-preserved chapel of San Lorenzo Mártir, whose former atrium is now to a popular neighborhood park.
The Temple of San Lorenzo Mártir, originally a visita of Santo Domingo Mixcoac, dates from the 16th century.
The chapel was rebuilt in the 17th century by the Franciscans, and is constructed of brick and volcanic stone. The bell tower is noted for its colorful brickwork, from a local brickworks.
The facade retains the form of its original doorway, surmounted by a plain alfiz and ornamented with unusual rosettes with windblown centers.
A venerable stone cross stands before the church door, fashioned in the regional pattern with a prominent crown of thorns at the crossing; its foreshortened arms lack the fleur-de-lis finials as at Mixcoac and other area crosses. A row of rosettes like those on the facade adorns the base of the chamfered cross.
The interior is unexceptional save for the sculpted sanctuary arch, densely carved with grapevines and ornate reliefs of the Stigmata.
A statue of the patron saint St Lawrence stands in the nave holding his grill—the instrument of his martyrdom.
text © 2023 Richard D. Perry
color images courtesy of Niccolo Brooker
and from online sources.
Monday, August 14, 2023
Behind the plain facade are found two colonial artifacts of note; first the handsome gilded main altarpiece, fashioned in “solomonic” baroque style with ornate spiral columns, Although a statue of the patron saint occupies the lower niche, it is surrounded by an original? and apparently complete? cycle of fine, large paintings of scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, with the Annunciation in the main center panel.
These opulent retablos are believed to have been commissioned by the 18th century mining mogul José de la Borda, who owned the local silver mines and also founded/funded the notable church of Santa Prisca in nearby Taxco.
Monday, July 10, 2023
In an earlier series we looked at several carved stone crosses in area churches of Aculco
In this post we feature a cross at the former 16th century century visita chapel of Santa Ana Matlavat, located a few kilometers north of Aculco.
The cross in question stands atop the gable of the church. Formed from reddish sandstone? the cross is carved with numerous Passion reliefs, including a crown of thorns around the neck and dripping Wounds on the shaft and both arms. A chalice with emerging host, and a worn column with cockerel perched atop? also adorn the shaft, while an ornamental INRI plaque caps the cross.
Because of the location of the cross it is not clear if the reverse side is also carved.
The other item of interest is the row of ten raised dots along the base of the cross. Although their meaning is also unclear, it may be that they may signify the number ten — a reference to the Aztec word for ten (matlactli) possibly part of the original place name or even the 16th century date of the chapel itself.
A second cross tilts precariously atop a stepped pedestal without the atrium opposite the church doorway.
text and images © 2023 Richard D. Perry
based on data from Javier Lara Bayon
Monday, June 26, 2023
The focus in our second post on Chiapas is on two related equestrian statues of colonial origin in the city of San Cristóbal.
The first is a virile of Santiago Matamoros now located in the city museum of Los Altos, adjacent to the church of Santo Domingo.
The saint is seated on a horse whose front hooves are elevated—possibly originally part of a larger tableau. The helmeted figure of Santiago is in his usual militant pose with sword upraised.
His costume as well as the saddle and saddle cloth are painted and richly finished in estofado style.
There is no definite date for the statue but the pose and the horse especially is fashioned in a folkloric style, which suggests the 17th or early 18th century.
The second figure, known as El Señor del Sótano, is sometimes mistaken for Santiago. He also brandishes a sword, but in fact represents St Martin, shown in the act of dividing his cloak with a naked beggar. The pose is more sophisticated than that of the Santiago statue: in the gestures of the saint, his headwear, the folds of his costume and even the turned head of the horse.
The decorative finish is also simpler, although the costuming is more realistic and brightly colored in reds and blues. Again no date is indicated although the ensemble suggest the later 18th century.
San Martín is located in a side chapel of the church of La Caridad, the former resting place of the Santiago figure.
text and graphic © 1993 & 2023 Richard D. Perry
photography courtesy of Niccolo Brooker
Friday, June 9, 2023
We have not posted frequently on Chiapas on this blog. But we have two new posts on this remote southern state.
The first looks at the church of La Merced in the city of San Cristóbal and the second on a pair of colonial statues also in this city.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
In this blog we have featured several colonial buildings/art works in the city of Aguascalientes, with connections to the Ureña family of architects and retablistas. *
Now a cultural center, this former mansion is one of the most important 18th century buildings in the city; It was built by the sub-delegate (colonial official) Felipe Pérez de Terán in 1795, under the direction of the master builder Gregorio Reyes and the stonemason Rodrigo Rodríguez, both associated with the celebrated baroque architect Felipe de Ureña who maintained a major workshop in the city.
While it may have been based on a Ureña plan, it seems more likely given the late date and transitional style, that his son, architect Francisco Bruno Ureña, was involved in its design.
Although it retains some baroque features, much of the detailing owes more to the neoclassical movement then becoming dominant in architecture and design. The overall effect is one of sober classical elegance, harking back in some ways to the severe Mannerist style of the early 17th century.
Devastated by a gas explosion some years ago, the building has recently been fully restored and its cultural activities resumed.
text © 2023 Richard D. Perry
images from online sources