San Agustin

church front by Tomás de Sigüenza, dating from 1696
1589 consecrated; 1732, reconsecrated after church was rebuilt following earthquake damage


Front facade--facing west

This church for the Augustinians (the last of the three religious orders to come to the "New World") has a spectacular facade in what is called the retablo style--that is, the facade looks like the compartmented altarpiece inside churches with its levels and niches for statuary. Vertical divisions are indicated by fluted columns while horizontal registers have highly decorated friezes. The foliate frieze ornament is also used on spandrels at the portal and above the sculptured figures in niches as well as on the lower third of the columns.

The flaming heart and book--symbol of the Augustinian order or of "love and learning" which is the motto of all followers of Augustine


The central relief with a bearded St.Augustine

Here he tramples heretics while protecting Augustinian friars underneath his cape partly uplifted by angels. St. Augustine also holds up model of the church.

Center: Nicolas of Tolentino; right: St. John of Sahagún


Left: St. Thomas of Valencia; center: St. Elipius


Two female saints:Rita of Cascia, usually depicted with a crucifix, as here; right: Clare of Montefalco

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.