Monday, June 26, 2017

San Francisco Atlixco: the convento frescoes

In previous posts on this early Franciscan monastery in Puebla, we looked at the splendid main altarpiece of La Asunción in the churchas well as some old stone fontsIn this post we look at some of the few surviving colonial murals in the convento.
Passion mural fragment
In the cloister, a once fine cycle of Passion scenes is, sadly, now largely obliterated.  Finely drafted on a large scale in classic 16th century Flemish style, they were outlined in warm gray, with burnt orange and blue accents, and framed by grotesque borders and the Franciscan cord. The remaining fragmentary episodes include a Christ at the Column and a melancholy Agony in the Garden. 
As we have seen with other early murals, background landscapes include local topographical features, while the friezes include a veritable compendium of local flora and fruits. 
St Francis and St Anthony of Padua
Two frescoes in the former refectory are better preserved. Drafted and colored in the same style as the cloister murals, they portray pairs of Franciscan saints kneeling in prayer before a crucifix.
St. Bonaventure and St. Louis, Bishop of Toulouse?
In the corners of the upper cloister are large, attractive urban scenes in a wider range of color—blue, burgundy and ocher. One portrays a medieval townscape with bridges and fortified buildings, and another is a classical architectural study with a decorated doorway and arcades, with views of distant landscapes (possibly intended as views of Assisi?) 
   The significance of these architectural frescoes is unclear although they are of a later date than the other murals and may have served as backdrops to statuary.
Doorway and arcades with landscape views
A third corner fresco shows a rose colored Jerusalem style cross against a blue landscape, framed by decorative panels of similar crosses—a motif which is also emblazoned along the exterior parapets of the church.

text © 2017 by Richard D. Perry
color images by the author and courtesy of INAH and Robert Jackson

See our other pages on Atlixco churches: Third Order chapel; La Merced;

No comments:

Post a Comment