Church of San Felipe Neri

1730's; completed in 1803 when the towers were added; recently cleaned and restored


Front facade--facing south

This highly decorated facade, usually defined as Oaxacan baroque, has at its center three bays with elaborate decoration and rich sculptural textures. Designed in three registers, the facade has columns repeated in each row leading the eye upwards. The end bays, flanked by columns, consist of beautiful shell niches, empty of sculpture, however, even though carved pedestals are situated between the columns. The central statue on the second register represents Filippo Neri, the 16th century Roman founder of the Oratory, a community of secular priests, also called the Congregation of the Oratory.

This church is also famous because Benito Juarez, the future president of Mexico, was married here.


Plateresque columns flanking the entrance

Columns like these, sometimes also called candelabra or baluster columns, are common in Oaxacan colonial architecture. Here the lower bulbous shaft is decorated and the upper shaft has spiral fluting

Keystone with the Holy Spirit

The spandrels on each side of the entrance arch are foliated and the frieze above has winged, bodiless angels.

Center: Tower with shallow relief carvings on the pilasters and a mosaic dome; right: side portal--facing west

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.