For our first post we compare three paintings of The Virgin Mary with portraits of St Dominic that appear in some of the churches we described earlier.
|The Virgin of the Rosary presenting the rosary to St Dominic, who kneels in a penitential stance. (relief on the facade of the Rosary chapel of the flagship priory of Santo Domingo in the city of Oaxaca) © Mary Ann Sullivan|
The 16th century evangelization and subsequent building of a mission network in Oaxaca was almost exclusively the domain of the Dominican order of friars. Dominican themes and insignia can be found emblazoned on all their priories and even smaller missions across the state of Oaxaca.
Many of the illustrated themes concern the central part played by St Dominic, the founder of the Order, in its history. One of the more common themes is the saint's leading role in popularizing the cult of the rosary and establishing Rosary chapels—an important adjunct to many Dominican churches.
The paintings record the appearance of a miraculous portrait of the saint in Soriano, Calabria, in the 1500s, an event that was popular with baroque artists in Spain and, although relatively rare in Mexican art, apparently popular in colonial Oaxaca.
All the images portray the Virgin Mary, crowned as the Queen of Heaven holding up the painting of St Dominic, accompanied by Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Mary Magdalene.
Here are three examples from Oaxacan churches we have mentioned in earlier posts:
|retablo painting in Santiago Tejupan (© Charlotte Ekland)|
|retablo painting in San Miguel Tlalixtac|
|retablo painting in San Pablo Huitzo|
|Zautla: portrait of St Dominic|