In a post on our sister site, we looked at the exotic exterior stone carving of the church of San Pedro Jarácuaro, beside Lake Patzcuaro in Michoacán.
The Last Judgment
But our main interest here is a colonial art work of special note—a large painting (not a mural, sorry!) in poor condition and part of a former altarpiece. Its subject is an unorthodox Last Judgment combined with a Las Animas (Souls in Purgatory) scene.
As is typical of Last Judgment tableaux, the scene unfolds in distinct tiers. A murky Holy Trinity sits in the curved pediment above, while Christ on the cross occupies the center—an unusual portrayal of Jesus in Last Judgment scenes.
He is flanked by ranks of the Elect on one side and—a special delight—an orchestra of musical angels on the other, playing period instruments including a cello, flute, horn and a pipe organ.
A partial, dated inscription contains a dedication and the name of the artist—thought to also be the author of a related Last Judgment panel at nearby Ziracuaretiro.
text © 2018 Richard D. Perry
color images by the author and courtesy of Robert Starner
Thanks to Robert Starner, the distinguished scholar of the pictorial representation of music, musicians and instruments in Mexican colonial art, for bringing this painting to our attention and providing several of the images on this page.
Please review our other posts with mention of the Last Judgment: El Llanito; Totimehuacan; Suchixtlahuaca; Huaquechula; Yanhuitlan; Xoxoteco; Actopan; Cuitzeo;
for more on the churches around Lake Patzcuaro consult our guide book to West Mexico