San Juan Bautista, Cuautinchán, Puebla, 16th Century
Enter Building DescriptThe town of Cuautinchán (also spelled “Cuauhtinchán”) lies just a few miles southeast of the city of Puebla. Franciscan friars began the conversion of the native population early, in 1527-28. They built a humble church dedicated to San Juan Bautista in 1534; construction on the present building started in 1569. The church and adjoining monastery demonstrate a sober purista style, devoid of the whimsical ornamentation typical of earlier Plateresque buildings. Two tall, slender towers buttress the classical facade.
The main retablo was commissioned in 1593; it is attributed to Juan de Arrué, the first major painter born in New Spain. Considered one of the three great Renaissance retablos to survive in Mexico, it is smaller and simpler than those of Huejotzingo and Xochimilco.
Traces of murals survive in the portería leading into the monastery. A mural above one of the cloister doors is of the Annunciation flanked by a jaguar and an eagle, a probable reference to the pre-Columbian toponym for Cuautinchan.ion Here