Santo Domingo--page 3 (of four pages)

page 1: front facade and details
page2: Rosary Chapel exterior and cloister
page 3: interior
page 4: Rosary Chapel

The original interior would have dated from the 17th and early 18th centuries, presumably by artists from Puebla, but most of the interior consists of modern reproductions of decorations destroyed in the 19th century. Most of the surfaces--walls, domes, and niches--are covered with stucco ornamentation in bright colors or gold gild. The church plan includes an upper and lower choir (at the entrance--seen below), a nave with small side chapels dedicated to different saints, a transept (only as wide as the nave plus side chapels) and the chancel, or high altar end. A large chapel to the right was added later--the Rosary Chapel (page 4).


Left: nave; center: side chapels off the nave; right: colorful barrel-vaulted nave


The ceiling of the lower choir: painted relief of the family tree of St. Dominic

This ceiling is the earliest of the surviving decoration in the church; the designs and figures are painted and gilded stucco. This genealogical tree is based on the idea of the Tree of Jesse, a common motif in European Gothic churches. From the "reclining figure of Don Felix de Guzmán, the patriarch of the family, it traces the earthly lineage of the founder of the Dominican order. Members of his noble family, real and imaginary, emerge like blossoms from buds set among tendrils and bunches of grapes" (18).

Continue to page 4.

Works consulted or quoted:
Richard D. Perry. Exploring Colonial Oaxaca. The Art and Architecture. Santa Barbara, CA: Espada Press, 2006.

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© 2009 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.