Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Missions of Michoacán: Santa Clara del Cobre

As the name indicates, Santa Clara del Cobre is devoted to the production and sale of artisanal copper work—an industry established here in colonial times.
   At the heart of the spaciously laid out town center are two late colonial churches: the principal parish church of La Inmaculada, and the adjacent chapel, dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Sagrario.
The latter building, smaller than the parish church although still with an impressive front, occupies the site of the former native hospital and chapel, or guatápera.  
   Dedicated to a female saint, as was customary, the chapel is vaulted by a curved wooden ceiling divided into sections that span the entire nave.
The ceiling is sparsely painted with sunburst glorias at intervals along the apex, alternating with simply framed oval busts of the Apostles on the sloping sides.
As at Tanaquillo, the repainted portraits are brightly colored, set against sky blue backgrounds.  In most cases the Apostles carry their usual attributes and are further identified by their names inscribed below. 

text © 2014 Richard D. Perry.  images courtesy of Benjamín Arredondo and by others

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