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:

Christ at the Pillar
Christ Child
Christ Fallen with the Cross
Christ in a Coffin
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Sorrows (Soledad)
Sacred Heart of Jesus
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Hyacinth
St. Isidore the Laborer
St. John the Baptist
St. John the Evangelist

St. Mary Magdalene
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Paul
St. Peter of Verona
St. Peter the Apostle
Unidentified female saint
Unidentified saint
Virgin and Child

Other santos not photographed

St. Peter the Apostle

Saint Peter the Apostle:
The face has a flush natural to an old man and a corresponding frailty in the delicate skull and the stretched neck muscles. The halo has a sun-burst shape but has been set almost flat atop the back of the head. Most sunburst halos are vertical and placed behind the head. The first joint of the right index finger is broken off. The right palm seems to have been re-done and has a rubbery look, but otherwise the extremities have an eloquent realism. Veins shine through the skin of the back of the left hand, nails are realistically detailed, toes have a craggy look. The awkward arrangement of the robe and right sleeve suggest the possibility of movable arms.

Local Name: San Pedro Apóstol.

Basis for Identification: Key, bald head, halo.

Other characteristics: Gray hair, bare feet, yellow robe, white cape.

Site: Church of San Pablo Huitzo.

Location: Right of the main altar.

Media and construction: Wood, gesso, paint, fabric clothing, metal halo, styrofoam key. Eyes: glass, no lashes. Hair: sculpted.

Size: About 4 feet (120 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca:  Coixtlahuaca, EtlaMitla, Díaz Ordaz, Tamazulapan, Teitipac1, Teitipac2, Teotitlán1, Teotitlán2, Teposcolula1, Teposcolula2Yanhuitlán.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of St. Peter in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles
Wikipedia: Saint Peter
Christian Iconography: Saint Peter the Apostle

Next: On an altar along the south wall, a statue of an unidentified saint

Previous santo

Introduction to San Pablo Huitzo

Santos Home Page

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.