Saturday, March 28, 2015

Arts of Colonial Mexico. The Guidebooks: Missions of Central Mexico

Our aim in this blog is to make Mexico's colonial artistic heritage come alive for the English speaking reader. 
   Over several years, your author, writer and illustrator Richard Perry has published a series of informative, pictorial guidebooks to those regions of Mexico with the richest colonial artistic heritage.   
   For each region we outline  in a clear descriptive style. the local history, folklore, and the artistic context for each building or work of art of note. In each case the text is supplemented by numerous illustrations, maps and plans.
   All the guides are illustrated by original line drawings by the author which render the architectural and sculptural detail with a clarity unobtainable in any other medium.

Following Cortés' military defeat of the Aztecs, all across their great empire and the lands of its neighbors, Spanish friars embarked upon the "spiritual conquest" of Mexico.
   As the 16th century progressed, monasteries and missions great and small arose in every town and village ­ highly visible citadels of the new Catholic religion and Spanish colonial rule. Four hundred years later, many of these venerable monasteries still stand, their sculpted churches and timeworn cloisters girded by battlemented atriums.
 Within their walls lie exquisite gilded altarpieces and religious sculptures and folk altars. Cycles of spectacular early religious murals, painted by Indian artists under the direction of the missionary friars, have recently come to light, hidden for centuries beneath layers of whitewash. 

   Mexico's Fortress Monasteries explores sixty of these outstanding colonial monuments, located throughout the colonial heartland of Mexico. Now accessible by paved roads, many of these venerable monasteries have been newly restored and are a rewarding destination for the cultural traveler. 
   Our guidebook is designed for the traveler, in country or in the armchair. Still the only guide of its kind in English, it is superbly illustrated by the author with detailed line drawings, maps, plans and diagrams. To aid the traveler, the guide is divided into five regional itineraries:

Chapter One.
The Valley of Mexico, focusing on Mexico City and its environs, from Acolman in the north to Xochimilco in the south.

Chapter Two. The state of Hidalgo, north of Mexico City, where the Franciscans and Augustinians built some of their most elaborate monasteries: at Tula, Actopan, Ixmiquilpan and Metztitlan. 

Chapter Three. The region of Puebla and Tlaxcala, east of the Valley of Mexico, where many of the first missions were established, at Huejotzingo, Cholula and Tlaxcala city; the densest concentration of Franciscan monasteries in the world. 

Chapter Four. Cuernavaca and the state of Morelos, the favored "land of eternal spring," where the religious orders vied to erect the most beautiful monasteries: the great Franciscan house in Cuernavaca, now the cathedral; the Dominican church at scenic Tepoztlan, and the chain of monumental Augustinian priories along the foothills of the sierra tepozteca

Chapter Five. In which we visit Oaxaca, a region noted for its magnificent Dominican priories and churches: the recently restored Dominican mother house of Santo Domingo in Oaxaca city, the priory of Cuilapan near Monte Alban, as well as the magnificent churches of the Mixteca Alta region north of the city.
As the most complete guide book on these missions in English, Mexico's Fortress Monasteries is an indispensable reference work as well as a unique traveler's guide. Updated with an informative introduction, a full bibliography and index.

This guidebook may be ordered through from our preferred distributor Practical Patchwork.

Readable... Portable... Affordable... 

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