We have dedicated several pages on this blog to el barroco poblano, the distinctive, colorful, and arguably most influential regional expression of the popular baroque style in Mexico, best known for its glittering tiled facades and painted stucco decoration.
Located just south of Atlixco, a colonial hillside community west of the city of Puebla, the picturesque church of La Trinidad Tepango presents a particularly spectacular example of el barroco poblano. Its mosaic like tiled front carries the Pueblan style to the Nth degree. Every surface: facade, belfries, dome, gables and openings, is faced with polychrome tiles of every hue, some patterned in bright colors (azulejos) as well as plain tiles in more subdued earth tones (ladrillos) set in herringbone or zigzag patterns. In addition, many of the tiles are antique, dating from colonial times.
Like the facade, the tower, dome and cupola are encrusted with stucco pilasters and painted pinnacles, adding even greater texture to the mix.
But as with San Juan in Atlixco, the church gateway is probably its most attractive feature, designed and ornamented in classic folk baroque style. Constructed in the form of a classical triumphal arch with baroque touches, the imposing entry is flanked by paired columns embossed with red and green vines that stand out against the tiled front. Unlike the facade, there are sculpture niches between the columns containing statues of brown robed saints in a popular vein, notably St Paul, while the diminutive figure of El Padre Eterno looks out from a gable niche above the main archway.
An inspiring display of vernacular architecture and ornament in a rural town.
text & photography © 2023 Richard D. Perry