Monday, August 28, 2023

Mexico City. San Lorenzo Xochimanca

San Lorenzo Xochimanca is best known for its well-preserved chapel of San Lorenzo Mártir, whose former atrium is now to a popular neighborhood park.

The Temple of San Lorenzo Mártir, originally a visita of Santo Domingo Mixcoac, dates from the 16th century.

 The chapel was rebuilt in the 17th century by the Franciscans, and is constructed of brick and volcanic stone. The bell tower is noted for its colorful brickwork, from a local brickworks.

The facade retains the form of its original doorway, surmounted by a plain alfiz and ornamented with unusual rosettes with windblown centers.

A venerable stone cross stands before the church door, fashioned in the regional pattern with a prominent crown of thorns at the crossing; its foreshortened arms lack the fleur-de-lis finials as at Mixcoac and other area crosses. A row of rosettes like those on the facade adorns the base of the chamfered cross.

The interior is unexceptional save for the sculpted sanctuary arch, densely carved with grapevines and ornate reliefs of the Stigmata.

A statue of the patron saint St Lawrence stands in the nave holding his grill—the instrument of his martyrdom.

text © 2023 Richard D. Perry

color images courtesy of Niccolo Brooker 

and from online sources.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Guerrero. San Antonio Tehuilotepec

We follow up on our earlier posts* on churches in Guerrero, with a visit to San Antonio Tehuilotepec, “mountain of crystal.”
This unassuming country church, located in an old hillside mining town just east of the silver city of Taxco, is set in an elevated atrium braced by high stone walls. It is dedicated to Franciscan notable St. Anthony of Padua, whose rustic stone statue rests in the upper facade.

Behind the plain facade are found two colonial artifacts of note; first the handsome gilded main altarpiece, fashioned in “solomonic” baroque style with ornate spiral columns, Although a statue of the patron saint occupies the lower niche, it is surrounded by an original? and apparently complete? cycle of fine, large paintings of scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary, with the Annunciation in the main center panel.

A second altarpiece here, dedicated to St Joseph, is designed in a later manner, distinguished by elegant freestanding estípite columns. Again a central statue, this time of St Joseph, is framed by a sequence of quality paintings documenting scenes from the life of the saint and the young Jesus.

These opulent retablos are believed to have been commissioned by the 18th century mining mogul José de la Borda, who owned the local silver mines and also founded/funded the notable church of Santa Prisca in nearby Taxco.

* Ixcateopan; Pilcaya

text © 2023 Richard D Perry
photography by Niccolo Brooker and from online sources