Sunday, February 2, 2020

Zacatecas cathedral: the facade crucifix

In the last of our current series on facade crucifixes we travel to Zacatecas* and its Cathedral Basilica of The Assumption.
   Although preceded by two more modest churches on this site, the present cathedral dates from the mid-1700s, rebuilt to reflect the wealth of this great northern mining region.
© Carolyn Brown
The extraordinarily ornate west front and towers, a riot of sculpture and encrusted spiral columns are indeed impressive, but our focus here in the less sumptuous but nevertheless soaring north facade, carved like the church front from the local brown stone.
Zacatecas cathedral, north facade  
Imposing caryatid columns flank the lofty doorway, but our main interest is the sculpted upper section, in which a broad niche framed by an elaborate curtain showcases a large statue of the crucified Christ, flanked by the figures of Mary and St John. 
 The sinewy figure of Christ is nailed to the cross; he wears a melancholy face and his sole garment is an ornamental fringed skirt. 
Another relief in the surmounting scalloped gable depicts God the Father and the eagle-like dove of the Holy Spirit flanked by angels.

Please visit our other posts on facade crucifixes: Totolapan; San Agustín Salamanca; Santiago SilaoSan Jose IrapuatoSan Agustín de QuerétaroSinguilucan;
*See our earlier post on the Apostolic College of Guadalupe
text © 2020 Richard D. Perry
color photography by the author and © Niccolo Brooker & Carolyn Brown

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