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 Pedro y San Pablo Etla:

Angel
Christ at the pillar
Christ: Ecce Homo
Christ fallen under the cross
Christ in the pretorium
Crucifix
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Luke
St. Paul
St. Peter the Apostle
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)
Soledad group
Unidentified saint (1)
Unidentified saint (2)
Unidentified saint (3)
Virgin Mary

Other santos not photographed


Soledad Group
Soledad Group

Site: Church of San Pedro y San Pablo Etla.

Location: Second bay in the north wall of the narthex (see note).


Virgin Mary (on the left):
The youthful face is almost photographically realistic and individualized. The gaze is direct and intelligent, and there is a purposeful set to the head. The hands have been joined to the figure above the wrist and are painted wood. Where the right index finger is broken no gesso can be seen, only wood. The face has been repainted; some of the new paint has flaked away under the chin. The toes are realistic and the feet are painted up to past the ankles.

Basis for Identification: Blue veil, white robe.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass, with lashes. Hair: wig over bald skull. Open mouth, individual teeth.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: AchiutlaEtla2, Guelavia1, Guelavia2, Nochixtlán, Ocotlán, Teotitlán, Teotitlán2, Tilantongo1, Tilantongo2, Yanhuitlán1, Yanhuitlán2, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Virgin Mary in Mexico


In the center, Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
The shoulderline is oddly box-shaped, suggesting a wooden frame beneath the long mantle. The hands have been joined to the figure above the wrist.

Local Name: La Virgen de la Soledad.

Basis for Identification: Black mantle, silver robe, eyes closed, praying hands, sunburst diadem.

Other characteristics: A lily held in the hands.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Achiutla, Santa Ana del Valle, Coixtlahuaca, Cuilapan, Ejutla, Etla, Huitzo, Mitla, Teotitlán, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2, Tilantongo, Xoxocotlán, Yanhuitlán, Zimatlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons:
Statues of Mater Dolorosa


On the right, an "Ecce Homo"?
The figure has complete legs; the feet are painted only as far up as the ankles. The hands have been joined to the figure above the wrist. The face has been repainted, and the new paint has flaked away from the left cheekbone. The head is bald beneath the wig, and is painted brown beyond the hairline. 

Basis for Identification: Purple robe, dark purple mantle. However, there is no crown of thorns or blood.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric garments. Eyes: glass eyes, with lashes.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Mitla, Santa Ana del Valle, Tamazulapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teitipac3, Teotitlán, Teposcolula, Tilantongo, Tlacolula, Xoxocotlán.

External Links:
The episode is in John 19:1-5.
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Ecce Homo.


Next: In the third bay of the north wall, a crucifix.

Previous santo

Introduction to San Pedro y San Pablo Etla

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.