Here is a view of Plaza de Armas, also known as the Plaza de Independencia, in Querétaro. In the foreground is a fountain with a statue of Juan Antonio de Urrutia y Arana, who was responsible for the construction of a 4200-foot long aqueduct to bring water to the city from La Cañada in the early 18th century. He is looking toward the Palacio de la Corregidora, residence of Don Miguel Domínguez and his wife Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, who is revered for her role in liberating Mexico from Spain. The palace is now the seat of the state government of Querétaro.
Along the west side of the plaza is this view corridor, with a carefully pruned mass of Indian laurel trees on the left and on the right, the Casa de Ecala, an 18th-century baroque mansion named after Tomás López de Ecala. The casa is now home of DIF (Desarrollo Integral de La Familia), a state agency offering social assistance to Mexican families.
The public enters the 1752 Church of Santa Rosa de Viterbo through twin entrances on the north side rather than the more typical west end, which abuts a busy street. This view is drawn from the Plaza Mariano de las Casas, created in 1964 to increase the visibility of this north side of the church.
Santa Rosa de Viterbo was originally associated with a convent whose nuns devoted themselves to primary education. After the convent was closed in 1861 due to the Reform Laws, the facility was transformed into a hospital. Today, the convent portion is the Centro de Estudios de Diseño y Artes Graficas Mexico-Italiano.
This past Sunday, Seattle Urban Sketchers ventured north to downtown Everett to visit the new flagship store of Funko, a company founded by Mike Becker in 1998 to produce low-tech, nostalgia-themed toys. Its first product was a bobblehead figure of the restaurant icon Big Boy. Now headed by Brian Mariotti, Funko has one of the largest portfolios in the pop culture industry. The store itself, a former Bon Marche and Macy’s, is a fantasyland of collectible toys licensed from such companies as Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon, and many others. As I was drawing the exterior view, a line started forming to await the 11 am opening of the store and so I had to add those figures at the last minute. The view itself is like a panorama, but vertical instead of horizontal.
We often are enthralled with monuments and monumental buildings and do not pay enough attention to the uniqueness and beauty of the more mundane places we encounter. Here are a couple of views of the commonplace. The first is the short pedestrian-only Calle V. Carranza, in the historic center of Querétaro. At the east end of the narrow street stands a bust of Venustiano Carranza Garza (1859–1920), the first elected president of the newly formed Mexican Republic in 1917, after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and under whose watch the 1917 Constitution was ratified.
The second view illustrates the power of a simple line drawing to capture a scene—this one a table at Maria y su Bici, a Oaxacan mezcaleria in Querétaro.
The Franciscan Church and Monastery of Santa Cruz (Iglesia y Convento de la Santa Cruz) dates from the 16th century and is named for the pink stone cross on the main altar. This cross commemorates the appearance of St. James that was supposed to have occurred on July 25, 1531 as the Spanish and their Nahuan allies battled the Otomi and Chichimecas on the hill where the church and monastery are now located. The well preserved compound consists of a series of cloisters and monk’s cells, along with a kitchen, orchard, water reservoir, and related ancillary facilities.
The first missionary school in the Americas, the School for the Propagation of the Faith (Colegio de la Propagación de la Fe) was established here. From this school, Franciscan friars ventured forth to establish missions as far north as what is now Texas and California.
In one of the courtyards is a thorn tree which, according to legend, grew from the walking stick that the missionary Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús stuck in the ground during his stay at the monastery. What is notable is that the tree bears thorns having three spines in the shape of a cross.