2016 - Mexico - Zempoala - Church - 2 of 2
A closer-upper look at the nave murals where the restoration work is visible in La iglesia y el convento de todos los santos de Zempoala (The church and the convent of all the saints of Zempoala).
In the last century, with the removal of several altarpieces, the parish priest noticed that mural fragments underlay the peeling walls of the apse, revealing a hitherto unknown cycle of 16th century frescoes.
Four tiers of paired painted panels adorn the flared sides of the polygonal apse, extending to the full height of the nave wall, from a dado above the floor to the running cornice above.
There are sixteen scenes altogether, separately framed by painted arcades. Two other now almost obliterated panels lie above the main altar. Although individually damaged to a greater or lesser extent, the murals have been restored as far as possible by SEDUE (Secretaria de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecologia), the Mexican government environmental and development agency.
The murals illustrate a variety of both familiar and obscure Old Testament scenes, drawn from graphic sources that include northern European prints by Erhard Schoen and Hans Springinklee.* These early 16th century sources—engraving and woodcuts—were widely published in religious books including bibles.
Primarily monochromatic compositions, the murals are executed in a refined but lively style with exceptionally fine delineation, dramatic poses and closely observed details. All are subtly accented with blues greens and earth colors.