Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Missions of Michoacán. San Lorenzo, the Church

San Lorenzo, the guatápera 
San Lorenzo
The town of San Lorenzo is located north west of Uruapan near Angahuan in the meseta tarasca of western Michoacán.
   Although not as well known as Angahuan or Zacán, San Lorenzo is a village of considerable architectural and artistic interest. 
   First of all, it boasts a classic, colonial pueblo-hospital layout that includes not only the 16th century church, but a largely intact and extensive walled guatápera compound (see Zacán) whose various structures are dramatically outlined against the wooded hillside.

San Lorenzo, the church front                                jamb detail
The Church 
Although altered over the centuries, most recently in 1945, the main church nevertheless retains much of its original facade including the imposing sculpted entry which is embraced by an unusual triple alfiz.  Another double alfiz frames the entire church front, terminating just below the undulating, later baroque gable.
A tapestry of stylized vines, flowers, tassels and fleurs-de-lis adorns the arch and broad jambs of the doorway, bordered by the Franciscan knotted cord.
    Rosettes and curious tasseled reliefs are placed above the archway and in the gable. The ornamental mudéjar choir window is modeled after those at Uruapan and Zacán.
San Lorenzo, mudéjar nave window
San Lorenzo, main altar
A high, rounded wooden vault—unpainted—covers the long nave which is lit by mudéjar windows in the style of the choir window. 
   A provincial 18th century wall retablo stands in the apse housing several figures of saints including the patron St Lawrence who holds a square grill, the symbol of his martyrdom.
A plain stone cross, dated 1823, is mounted on a pedestal in front of the church.
text © 2014 Richard D. Perry.  
color images and graphics by the author except where noted.  all rights reserved

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