Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Tiled Churches of Puebla: N. S. de Guadalupe

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe 
(Reforma 1100)
In 1754, when he first heard of the Apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, Pope Benedict XIV fell to his knees and, quoting a passage from Psalm 147, exclaimed these words: Non Fecit Taliter Omni Nationi,  translated as: "He (God) hath not done this for any other nation."  Shown a reproduction of the miraculous image on Juan Diego's tilma, he issued the Bull proclaiming Our Lady of Guadalupe as Patroness of Mexico. This led to the building or rededication of churches across Mexico to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Among the most colorful of these is the church of Guadalupe in the city of Puebla, located north of the old city grid. Faced with contrasting tile in characteristic barroco poblano style, it boasts one of the most accomplished and intricately patterned facades in the city.

The sober baroque porch of gray stone and the plain upper openings are framed by a grand archway outlined in yellow and blue tile and filled with dazzling zigzags of multicolored tile inset with ornate tiled floral panels.

Note the multicolored angels floating in the spandrels above the arch.

On either side of the archway, set against a backdrop of dark red ladrillo brick interspersed with blue azulejos, four large narrative panels, composed of glazed talavera tile in blue, green and yellow, illustrate the Four Apparitions in a direct folkloric style, each with sections of the Latin text: Non Fecit Taliter Omni Nationi


Other panels placed across the church front display well known symbols of the Virgin, such as the sun, moon, and roses.

The multi hued facade is complemented by a pair of tiered, whitewashed towers sculpted in ornate, popular baroque style and encrusted with woven and spiral columns.

The church is covered by a handsome dome faced in a similar style.  


text © 2013 Richard D. Perry. Photography courtesy of Mary Ann Sullivan

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