A mania for churches and a great mural


The Spanish, amoung others, seemed to have had a mania for building churches. We get basilicas, temples, missions, and parrish churches and chapels and side chapels and and and. I make no effort to understand the rational, shake my head at the up keep, but really enjoy sketching and taking snaps of them.

Panteon del Christo – the oldest chruch in Patzcauro. We caught the end of a massand joined a large crowd spilling into the courtyard. Later we took a look inside, some fine oils, including this.

Inside the church of St Francis – a especially ugly building from the outside – where the evangelisation of the Purhepecha began for better or worse

A block or so away is this one

And another long block is El Sanruario de Guadalupe, completed in 1832, for the very convieient and probably mythical saint Guadalupe as seen by Juan de Dios etc etc

One of my favourites this old gem, now in very poor shape, is the jesuit church.

The most interesting site in the whole of Patzcauro and a work of great national significance is housed in this now retired nunnery

This houses the truly massive mural by Juan O’Gorman. This great work rivals any of the works of Diego Rivera and takes up all of a huge end wall in what is now an especially poorly stocked public labrary.

As with so many things in modern Mexico, this manumental work is not fully appreciated and celebrated locally nor is sufficient attention paid to it in local tourism materials, such as they are. From the volcanic pre-history of the region, through Purepecha settlement, the Spanish conquest, the wars of independence and touching on the revolution of 1910, O’Gorman has looked at the local history on a truly large scale. For more on O’Gorman and probably better reproductions of this masterpiece, painted over a 1 year period in the early 1940’s, see:




The last being especially good.

Clearly O’Gorman was one of that commanding group of Mexican intellectuals of the 1930’s and 40’s who combined to make the country such an interesting place, at least in retrospect. This trip I was also introduced to the work of Paul [Pablo] O’Higgans, an American, who lived and worked in Mexico during the same period. More of a painter and muralist he brought an uncompromising view to his work – there may be a mural of his still en situ in Seattle.


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