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.
Virgin and Child
| Virgin and Child:
The Virgin has drooping lids, a pouting mouth and a determined chin. The dark hair hides the ears completely. The face has a low gloss and the skin is discolored. The carved hands of Virgin and Child are not free of their bodies, and the gessoed wood between the mother's fingers give a webbed appearance. The Virgin's hair and veil are of a piece with the neck.
The Child is naked. In the right hand he holds a golden fruit, possibly a pomegranate, a Christian symbol of resurrection and eternal life. The face resembles those of the stone angels carved in the baptistery. The clothing's flat colors and dull sheen indicate a repainting, as does the fresh color of the eyebrows. However, the skin of both is not repainted.
Basis for Identification: White gown and blue mantle, child in arm.
Other characteristics: Green sash, red veil.
Site: Basilica of Santiago Cuilapan.
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint. Hair: carved. Eyes: painted. Closed mouth.
Size: About 2 feet (60 cm.)
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.
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.