Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cajititlan: El Santuario de Guadalupe

This inaugural post is the first in a series on the architecture and sculpture of three traditional villages of Los Reyes, San Lucas and San Juan Evangelista, that line the shores of secluded Lake Cajititlan, precariously close to the expanding metropolis of Guadalajara, Jalisco. 
   For our initial page, we look at the Santuario de Guadalupe, located across the plaza from the principal lakeside church of Los Reyes Cajititlan. 
   Formerly the centerpiece of the old Indian hospital here, the chapel was rebuilt in the mid 18th century and has been partly restored. Its more intimate scale, exuberant folk baroque detailing and unmistakable indigenous flavor provide a contrast to the more imposing, but sparely ornamented facade of the basilica opposite.

Above the elegant baroque doorway, ornate shell niches project from the facade, surmounted by eagles. Statues of the Virgin of Sorrows and St. John the Evangelist, traditional mourners of Christ at Calvary, occupy the lower niches. The stocky figure of Christ hangs from the cross in the upper niche. 

Below a delicate frieze of sunflowers and fleurs-de-lis, a chubby angel emerges from a flower in the carved relief over the doorway. 
The facade terminates in sculpted gable crowned by a foliated stone cross. The gable is a virtual stone tapestry of coronets and smiling cherubs entwined in a tangle of rampant relief foliage, framed by the sinuous lines of a projecting scrolled cornice.
Guadalupe gable, left side
Guadalupe gable, right side
Almost lost in the whirl are plaques bearing the names of the local officials, the alcalde and regidor, and even more importantly, that of the sculptor, Miguel SebastiĆ”n, dated 1767—a member  of a talented family of native stonecarvers whose work can also be seen across the Lake at San Lucas and San Juan Evangelista.
text © 2012 Richard D. Perry; photographic images ©Niccolo Brooker. All rights reserved

For more information on the colonial arts and architecture of Jalisco, consult our guidebook, Blue Lakes & Silver Cities, available from EspadaƱa Press


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