For the final post in our ongoing series on the art of the great Dominican priory of Yanhuitlan, we focus in this post on a striking fresco of St. Christopher standing above the above the stairway in the convento—the only intact mural to survive there. This is an unusual location for this subject as St Christopher is more commonly found in the church by or above the north doorway.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Following up on our post describing the lower cloister murals, additional scenes, similarly framed in the upper cloister depict episodes from the life and miracles of the perennial Franciscan favorite St. Anthony of Padua with figures in 18th century dress—probably the most complete series portraying the saint known in Mexican mural art, or any other medium for that matter.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
|the evangelists Luke and Mark|
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Like most all the Morelos conventos, the corridors of the cloister walks and adjoining rooms at Yautepec were lavishly covered with painted friezes, dadoes and artesonado ceilings with passages of intricate decorative coffering interspersed with Dominican rosettes, sacred monograms and landscapes.
Bands of grotesque ornament fill the friezes entwined with acanthus and vines, festooned with garlands and animated with birds, flowers, cherubs and mythical figures—mostly in monochrome but accented with faded burgundy and blue.
The Cloister Murals
Around the cloister a grand series of narrative murals survive, albeit partially. They comprise an extraordinary compendium of portraits of Dominican saints, martyrs, bishops, and even popes, along the cloister walks and primarily on the interior piers of the cloister arcades.
All the figures are portrayed in conventionally dignified Renaissance poses, richly robed and bearing crucifixes as well as their traditional attributes and symbols. Each is identified by Latin inscription and elegantly framed with ornate Plateresque columns and arches.
Only two female saints, Lucy and Catherine of Siena, are portrayed.
Friday, April 24, 2020
The church is very plain inside and out. Although dated 1567 by a plaque, the facade is neoclassical in design—a post colonial reworking. Aside from a colorful painted under choir of uncertain date, the majority of the murals are found in the adjacent convento. These are mostly monochrome and date from the 16th century.
This first post looks at the church murals, the second at the frescoes in the convento.
The Underchoir Murals
The only remaining mural of note inside the church is the painted, ribbed ceiling of the sotocoro or under choir. This elaborate, mudéjar inspired pattern incorporates a series of complex ornamental roundels or “bosses,” many of heraldic design. Some feature the Christic monogram IHS, and others include Augustinian insignia, lions and eagles, and a Coronation of the Virgin—all linked by broad, multi striped bands in predominantly red and blue hues.
Monday, April 13, 2020
As noted earlier, one of the most intriguing aspects of the Casa del Dean murals is the extraordinary friezes that frame the processions above and below, in particular the various animals portrayed.
Although overall, the friezes follow the traditional grotesque pattern seen in the monasteries: stylized forms of flowers, vines and cornucopia, angels and mythical beasts, etc, elements like native birds, monkeys, serpents and even wild men, add piquant touches to the conventional designs.
However, it is the array of anthropomorphic animals displayed in the cartouches embedded in the friezes that especially capture the viewer’s attention. Most of those shown are native to the Americas. All are portrayed seated, some on traditional petate thrones, and engaged in a variety of indigenous ritual activities —writing, singing, playing musical instruments, and drinking chocolate or pulque.