Sunday, October 23, 2016

Miguel de Mendoza: a colonial artist in Oaxaca. 2

After San Cristóbal Suchixtlahuaca, which we reviewed in our first post on Miguel de Mendoza, the largest number of paintings attributed to him are found in the nave of great Dominican priory church of Santiago Yanhuitlan, notably in the restored lateral altarpieces of El Rosario (14 ) and El Carmen (4) 
The restored 18th century gilded altarpiece of the Rosary, framed in exuberant ornate Oaxacan style, is located on the south side of the church and is perhaps the most magnificent of the many lateral retablos at Yanhuitlan. 
   At one time attributed to the 16th century artist Juan de Arrué, the surviving painted panels are closer in time to the retablo itself and although unsigned, are now thought to be the work of Mendoza.
Yanhuitlan. El Rosario: The Coronation of the Virgin;      The Nativity;  (Perla Jimenez)
The paintings illustrate key scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary as well as other smaller details.  Here we show two: The Coronation of the Virgin and The Nativity, whose harmonious composition and soft, warm colors convey an appropriate intimacy. 
Located beside the north door of the church, the handsome gilded retablo of El Carmen dates from the early 1700s and contains at least three paintings attributable to Mendoza. 
The Virgin of Carmen with souls in purgatory  (Perla Jiménez 
All the scenes feature saints interceding for souls in Purgatory (Las Animas), most notably the main upper panel portraying the Virgin of Carmen herself, as well as two large lateral scenes with 1. The martyr St. Lawrence, shown holding his grill, and 2. The notorious Dominican preacher St. Vincent Ferrer, portrayed with his customary wings.
St. Lawrence, and St. Vincent Ferrer (Perla Jiménez)
text © 2016 Richard D. Perry,
based on, with images adapted from, the 2013 thesis DON MIGUEL DE MENDOZA. PINTOR INDIO CACIQUE, CATALOGO E ITINERARIO ARTÍSTICO  by Perla Miriam Jimenez Santos
See some of our earlier posts featuring important Mexican altarpieces:
Planning a trip to Oaxaca?  Take our guidebook along


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  3. The blank spaces in the Yanhuitlan side altars are the result of theft by individuals who broke into the church one night several years ago and stole the paintings for sale in the black market. Sadly, this is a chronic problem in Mexico, and the government does little to solve the problem. The only saving grace is that the thieves did not steal the paintings in the main altar. Robert Jackson