Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Rojas Retablos—Querétaro: Santa Clara

Santa Clara de Querétaro

 Santa Clara de Queretaro

Like Santa Rosa de Viterbo, the narrow nave of this nuns' church is lined with an extraordinary variety of opulent, late baroque altarpieces by the Queretaran masters, including Francisco Gudiño, Mariano de Las Casas and Pedro de Rojas.

The two that interest us here are dedicated to St. Rose of Lima and St John Nepomuc. We look first at the altarpiece dedicated to St. Rose, the first American saint.

Santa Rosa de Lima

This opulent gilded retablo is believed to be another work by Pedro de Rojas, an attribution supported by its filigree style ornament and graceful sculptures of angels—a signature of Rojas’ altarpieces and perhaps from his own chisel.

The center pavilion, divided by broken pediments and rich with swagged and foliated reliefs, showcases a modern figure of St Rose with the Christ Child in a glassed niche.

Above a pair of elaborately framed, painted doors surmounted by reclining angels with enormous cornucopia, ornate pilasters with curtained niches house polychrome figures of Saints Dominic and Anthony of Padua.

Overhead, a decorative cartouche of the Virgin of Guadalupe is encircled by Marian symbols accompanied by animated figures of Archangels. 
These, with other cherubic figures, appear to be the only surviving original statuary, and may be from Rojas workshop—possibly the hand of the master himself.


Text & drawing ©2012 Richard D. Perry.  Photography by Richard Anderson & Niccolo Brooker

Information based in part on Pedro de Rojas y su taller de escultura en Querétaro by Mina Ramírez Montes (1988)

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