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 Miguel Achiutla:

Christ at the Pillar
Christ carrying the Cross
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Our Lady of the Rosary

Resurrected Christ

Sacred Heart of Jesus + Christ Child
St. John the Baptist
St. Joseph
St. Michael (1)
St. Michael (2)

St. Michael (3)
St. Michael (4)
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
St. Rose of Lima
St. Sebastian
Unidentified Dominican saint
Unidentified saint

Virgin Mary Altar
Virgin Mary in White
Saint Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
Peter Martyr

St. Peter of Verona:
The hands are intact except for the last joint of the left thumb. They are realistically done, with lifelike nails and tendons. Inspection of cracks in the hands reveals they were painted only once, yet the look is rubbery, even in the face, which however does have some sheen. The feet are finished to above the ankles; above that, the legs are painted a dull green.

Local Name: San Pedro Mártir

Basis for Identification: Machete in head, palm in right hand, tonsure

Other characteristics: Pink robe with blue cape, white undertunic

Site: Church of San Miguel Achiutla

Niche in the retablo in the north wall of the apse (see note)

Media and Construction:
Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: painted. Hair: carved.

Size: About 52 inches (132 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca:
Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Etla, Huitzo, Diaz Ordaz, Teitipac, Tlacolula, Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Peter of Verona in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Peter of Verona
Wikipedia: Peter of Verona
Christian Iconography: Saint Peter Martyr

Next: We circle around to the south side of the apse for Our Lady of Sorrows ("Soledad").

Previous santo

Introduction to San Miguel Achiutla

Santos Home Page

Note: On this site, 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 walls of the nave on the north and south. (The nave is the long central section.) Actual orientations may differ.

The photo shown here is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free to share or remix it on two conditions: first, that you attribute it to the photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without implying any approval of your work  on their part; second, that if you alter, transform, or build upon this photo, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.