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 the church of Santo
carrying the Cross
Tour of the Ayuxi Chapel
|The Retablo of the Main
This is surely one of the most spectacular retablos in Oaxaca. Regrettably, we did not take good photographs. The central figure is the statue of Saint Dominic.
The lower-leftmost statue is 4 3/4' high, in a fabric Dominican habit but without a star in the forehead. Wood, gesso, paint.
The lower-rightmost statue is 4 3/4' high, in a fabric Dominican habit and tonsure, but no star in forehead--very much like the one on the far left. The eyes appear to be glass.
The fourth santo is the crucifix above the Santo Domingo.
The other santos on the main retablo are arranged into
four tiers. In each tier are four santos in niches, with
paintings between the niches. The santos must be wood
because they look too good to be plaster. Yet their skin
lacks any sheen, just as one would expect with plaster.
The eyes are painted, the garments beautifully carved
from the wood. All are very well done, using a good deal
of gold, but the gold seems to be painted on rather than
polychrome. All are about 5' high. Only two are tonsured
(those in the 3rd tier from the top, directly to the
left and right of the crucifix). Four wear bishops'
miters (all occupying the second tier from the top).