Sunday, September 22, 2019

Oaxaca. San Bartolo Soyaltepec 1: The Church

Turning our attention again to Oaxacan churches of historical and artistic interest, we visit the Dominican church of San Bartolo Soyaltepec in the Mixteca Alta region, near the priory of Yanhuitlan.
Our first post (of three) looks at the church fabric itself, the focus of recent restoration work *. The present church dates from 1723, and its west front is typical of Dominican houses in that it presents a retablo style facade, in this case framed with two tiers of paired spiral columns—rare in Oaxaca—together with a bull's eye choir window. The intervening sculpture niches are currently empty of statuary. The facade has recently been restored to its original red color.

The facade shows little other sculptural ornament aside from an escutcheon in the crowning gable that features a painted relief of a sword—the traditional instrument of martyrdom for the patron Saint Bartholomew. 
tower cupola and vane;                                                embedded reliefs
squat single tier north tower caps the church front. Reliefs embedded in the base of the tower include the Spanish Royal arms.
Entwined strapwork and densely carved stucco ornament distinguish the lateral entry.
The arcaded porteria beside the church has also been restored.

* funded by La Fundación Alfredo Harp Helú Oaxaca (FAHHO)
see our recent Oaxaca posts: Yautepec; TixáYatzachi el Alto; San Juan Tabaá; Zoochila
                                                       text © 2019 Richard D. Perry
sources:Memoria #4. Biblioteca de Investigación Juan de Córdova
                                           images courtesy of Felipe Falcon, Fidel Ugarte Liévana, Gibrán Morales                                               Carranza and José Luis Cruz.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Richard,

    I would like to contact you regarding a "strange" church portal in the Canary Islands that seems to have a colonial element to it. I have sent an email to an address ( but I am not sure if it is still active..