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 Tlacolula:

Christ: Ecce Homo
Christ in a coffin
Christ in the pretorium (Pensive Christ)
Crucifix 1
Crucifix 2
Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady of the Assumption
Palm Sunday Christ
St. Anthony of Padua
St. John the Evangelist
St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr)

Other santos not photographed

St. John the Evangelist

Saint John the Evangelist:
The statue is of one piece with its base. The shape of the eyebrows and face, the delicacy of the features, and the quality of the polychrome suggest that the figure may be an original mate to the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows on the other side of the altar, perhaps by the same artist. The cape has an abstract pattern of feathers in heavy gold. Some of the red paint has darkened to brown. The right foot originally jutted beyond the base but has been broken off and roughly repaired. There is a large starburst halo.

Local Name: San Juan Evangelista.

Basis for Identification: Position beside crucifix, matching the dolorosa. Eyes raised upwards.

Site: Church of the Assumption, Tlacolula.

Location: Right of the crucifix in the Calvary chapel.

Media and construction: Polychrome. Eyes: glass eyes, some lashes missing. Hair: carved.

Size: About feet (165 cm.)

Comparable santos in Oaxaca: Ejutla, Huitzo, Mitla (Calvary grouping), Ocotlán, Teotitlán, Teposcolula.

External Links:
Wikimedia Commons: Statues of Saint John the Evangelist in Mexico
Catholic Encyclopedia: St. John the Evangelist
Wikipedia: John the Evangelist
Christian Iconography: Saint John the Evangelist

Next: We move into the Chapel's east transept (see note) for a statue of St. Peter of Verona (Peter Martyr).

Previous santo

Introduction to Tlacolula

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.) In the case of the Chapel of the Lord of Tlacolula, which is at right angles to the nave of the church, the altar is thus at the south end and the transept (the wings that give the building the shape of a cross) comprises an east and west 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.