Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chapel of the Rosary

Chapel of the Rosary
Puebla, Mexico

The Chapel of the Rosary is one of Mexico's most famous chapels located within Templo de Santo Domingo. At the time, it was called the House of Gold since it boasts one of the most extensive uses of gold leaf in Baroque architecture. The chapel is unique for the time because it takes the heavily articulated retable facade normally found within Spanish Baroque architecture and translate it onto the inside of a dome. Along with the gold leaf, the interior is also filled with sculpture and high relief carvings which give the walls and ceilings a feeling of movement.

The plan of the overall church is a Latin Basilica plan with short arms on either side of the central altar. On top of the altar made of wood and gold leaf with marble columns sits a statue of the angel Gabriel. Surrounding him are small cherubs and a group of saints; pictured above are St. Lucia (patron saint of the blind or those with eye-trouble; she is usually depicted holding a plate with eyes), St. Catarina, St. Ursula, and Agueda. Elements that are easily identifiable in the Baroque style include fenestration in the dome, articulated ribbing, arches, and a cornice. Marble Solomonic columns support the altar with what appears to be a miniature lantern at the top. Various oil paintings adorn the walls depicting the joys of the rosary, coronation of Mary, and the birth of Christ.

The dome is separated into eight sections demarcated by the decorated ribbing on the sides. Each of the eight sections except for one represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Understanding, Fortune, Mercy, Fear of God, Science, Council, and Wisdom. The one section that is not a part of this depicts the Divine Spirit holding a palm leaf and laurel branch which represent purity and immortality. The message that this would send is that by receiving and practicing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one can achieve the highest wisdom as shown by the sun-like form at the very center of the dome with the dove.

Class Notes

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