Situated northwest of Lake Pátzcuaro, the spacious, gabled church at Naranja is mainly notable for its painted ceiling—one of the largest, the earliest and among the better preserved in Michoacán.
|image courtesy of Robert Jackson|
|Apsidal end © Niccolò Brooker|
Although not easy to distinguish or even conclusively identify in the darkened church and in their present state of conservation, this assembly of archangels, saints, martyrs, together with the founders of the various religious orders and other prominent church leaders, along with biblical events and personalities, represents a broad if uneven history of the Church.
|© Niccolò Brooker|
|St Joseph and St Francis © Niccolò Brooker|
As elsewhere in the Michoacán ceilings, notably at Cocucho and Nurio, angels are portrayed at Naranja playing period musical instruments, reflecting the importance of church music in colonial times.
At Naranja, concentrated at the choir end, we see wind and string instruments on opposing sides, shown as they would have been placed during the liturgy: the horn and chirimia, or native flute, on one side, with the mandolin, guitar, bass viol and viol da gamba on the other.
images of musicians © Carolyn Brown
text © 2014 Richard D. Perry. All rights reserved
images by the author and courtesy of Carolyn Brown, Robert Jackson and Niccolò Brooker