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.
St. Michael the Archangel
| Saint Michael the Archangel:
The gesso is unusually thin and has worn through at the toes to reveal the wood beneath. Two holes have been formed at the shoulder blades so that wings could be attached. These holes reveal the process of the original construction, with gessoed linen over wood. Paint has chipped off in the folds of the tunic between the legs, revealing the gold of the original polychrome. The whole pattern of the polychrome of the left sleeve shows through the later repainting. The statue is in good condition, but the arms and clothing have been repainted and there have been several repairs. The right leg seems to have been reattached where the tunic begins. The remaining wing has been patched onto the right, and a peg shows where the left wing broke off. The helmet and sword are recent.
Local Name: San Miguel
Basis for Identification: Sword,
armor, helmet, one wing; red knee-length tunic, green
surcoat, red boots.
Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.
Location: Right of the column in the south wall of nave (see note).
Media and construction: Repainted polychrome. Hair: carved. Eyes: glass, no lashes.
Size: About 3 feet (90 cm.)
to the east end of the south wall of the nave, a statue of Our Lady of the
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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