Santos in Oaxaca's Ancient Churches
A study of santos in 16th-century and other churches in Oaxaca, Mexico
By Claire and Richard Stracke
Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
In San Pablo Huitzo:
The Christ Child
| The Christ Child:
The sunburst is painted onto the robe. The hair is blond, thick, and curly. The base is carved as one with the statue. The composition is unbalanced, the right side outweighing the left. It may be that the cape was added in the course of a restoration. It hangs out past the right edge of the base, whereas the left side of the cape hangs close to the body.
It appears that the artist made the body first and then attached the head and hands. The break between the head and the trunk is visible inside the collar. The left hand is missing, and in the sleeve is the peg to which the hand was attached. In the back is a peg which could have supported wings.
The right index finger is missing, as are the top joints of the right middle finger and pinkie. At the breaks one can see the wood and gesso. Paint is flaking from the right temple.
Basis for Identification: Gold sunburst on the breast of the robe.
Other characteristics: White robe, blue mantle.
Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.
Location: Right side of the second altar along the north wall of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Wood and stiffened cloth, gesso, paint. Repainted. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: sculpted.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
Moving now to the third altar along the north wall, a statue of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus
references to the cardinal directions always assume
that the main altar is at the east end of the church,
the narthex or entry area at the west end, and the two
of the nave on the
north and south. (The
nave is the long central section.)
Actual orientations may differ.
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