Friday, April 15, 2016
Rancho Viejo is a treasure trove of capillas. This week we painted the restored Capilla de San Francisco. Unfortunately, the door to the atrium was locked so we painted this one from the road and many not so friendly barking dogs visited as we painted.
Front and center over the door to this capilla is yet another two-headed eagle. We have found many representations of the two-headed eagle which is the Habsburgs coat of arms in stone carvings and paintings on various capillas around San Miguel de Allende. Barbara E. Mundy, Ph.D., Professor, Art History, Fordham University, explained the frequent use of this symbol in a religious context in Mexico in a recent e-mail:
“The double-headed eagle is indeed the symbol of the Habsburgs, and it appears widely across their American domains. It’s an indication that the church….operated under the protection of the royal crown—the Habsburgs having been named the “Catho
lic monarchs” for their defense of the Catholic faith and responsibility for evangelization within the realm they controlled. Just as indigenous people were Catholics, they were also subjects of the Spanish crowns, and the images on the buildings reflect this double allegiance.”
This week we found an additional old capilla which we will paint next week, but have given up trying to find what is known locally as Jorge’s capilla because it is part of a gated compound and not easily visible. Although Rancho Viejo is a virtual maze of dirt roads, gates, and high walls, one can easily find the main iglesia, three restored and quite charming old capillas and a calvario.
As we were leaving, we stopped at a busy market in the town square that included vendors of housewares, fruit, and vegetables, clothing, flowers and prepared food. Apparently, this market happens every two months. We visited on the third Friday of April.
© 2016 Lorie Topinka