St. Anne (With Virgin and Christ Child)

Wood, gesso, paint
Church of Santa Ana del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

The Anne figure stands behind the Virgin, both hands raised palm-up. The figure of the Virgin, a full head shorter, has the right hand up in a similar gesture, while the left holds the child, whose hands are raised in the same gesture, the left holding an orb.

The figures are carved as two separate statues, but they were designed as an ensemble. Although the faces are flat and almost coarse, and the hands show little detailing, the figures and the rhythms are powerful. The lines of the Mary figure, with upraised arms and draped cape, continue the shape of the protective Anne figure behind. The child is carved as a part of the Mary figure and sits on the left arm, the head tilted up and parallel to the upraised left arm of the Anne figure.

The Anne figure is painted with golden 6-petaled flowers, but the front of the robe has not been finished. The mantle is painted with large arabesques of flowers and leaves. It is as delicate as work in stiffened cloth, but Sr. Arcadio Aquino Cruz, the topil of Santa Ana del Valle at the time of our visit, informed us that the entire ensemble is wood. The Mary figure wears a red robe and a blue mantle edged in gold; there is no pattern on either robe or mantle. On the front edge of the mantle is a chip which reveals the wood beneath. The child is in white.

Read more about St. Anne.

Photographed at the church by Claire and Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.