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 Pablo Huitzo:
St. John the Baptist
| Saint John the Baptist:
The figure has a powerful, muscular body with realistically detailed neck and shoulders. The legs are well muscled and sturdy, the hands large. The right hand has a broken pinkie, and the wood and gesso can be seen at the break. There is no lamb, but the left arm is crooked as if to hold one.
The hair is unusual. It is cropped close to frame the face in front but hangs below the shoulders at the back. The carved black curls are tight and narrow. It falls in long, flat waves over the shoulders and down over the left collarbone. Probably often rubbed by petitioners, the left knee is shiny and has healthy pink flesh tone, in contrast to the darker tones of the leg.
Local Name: San Juan Bautista.
Basis for Identification: Floor-length cross in right hand, garment hangs off the shoulder, curly hair.
Other characteristics: Red garment
rather than anything resembling camel skin, curly hair.
Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.
Location: Extreme left of the altar in the first bay in the north wall of the nave (see note).
Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, polyester garment.
on the left of this altar, a statue of St. Mary
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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conditions: first, that you attribute it to the
photographers, Claire and Richard Stracke, without
implying any approval of your work on their part;
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