The sculptures of Guadalajara are diverse and stunning. Although a single article cannot possible cover the vast array of the sculpture in this great city, we are able to show the contrast between the traditional and modern styles.
One of the most touching sculptures is at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas. This complex was originally built to house the poor, and then orphans began arriving in 1810. In the early 1980’s it was repaired and modified to be a cultural center. The new institute has been honored by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
The statue depicts Juan Cruz Ruiz, who was appointed Bishop of Guadalajara in 1795, with two orphans. It shows his compassion for people who are less fortunate. Also, Ruiz was the primary sponsor of the original building project. He commissioned Manuel Tolsa a Spanish neo-classical architect to design the building in 1803.
In addition to this statue, the architecture, gardens and murals of the complex are outstanding. The murals by José Clemente Orozco are world renowned.
Another great traditional sculpture can be seen in the center of the shops that run along the PlazaTapatia. Incidentally, while there are some typical shops on the plaza, there are also many unique boutiques that are worth a look. The sculpture of escudo (coat of arms) of 16th century Guadalajara is a pine tree (with leaves instead of needles) that is protected by two lions that appear to be climbing the tree.
The Plaza de la Rotonda is just north of the Cathedral and is home to Rotunda of the Illustrious People of Jalisco. The architect Vicente Mendiola built the monument in 1951 under the direction of the then current Governor, José Jesús González Gallo. The seventeen columns support the upper stone ring with words that translate into “To Jalisco’s Distinguished Sons”. There is but one woman, teacher and humanist Irene Obledo Garcia, it was added in 2000.
The center of this memorial tribute contains the urns holding the remains of those honored by the monument. The statues of the 24 honorees surround the Plaza.
Inmolación de Quetzalcoatl was created by Victor Manuel Contreras in 1981. The base of the fountain is a cross with a sculpture in the center surrounded by four other sculptures at the furthest top, bottom and each of the arms of the cross.
The central sculpture is 82 feet high, making it one of the tallest in the world, while each of the other sculptures are almost 20 feet high. The five sculptures are each made from a bronze casting. Every casting was then hand carved by Contreras. This gargantuan sculpture sits in the Plaza Tapatia.
Some of the bronze sculptures of Alejandro Colunga are near the opposite end of the Plaza Tapatia. Each of these four sculptures depicts a magician in the process of transforming his body into a chair or a sofa. Visitors cans sit on the magician / furniture.
Colunga was born on December 11, 1948. Although self-trained as a sculpture, he is considered one of the most important Mexican artists of the 20th Century. He admits to being attracted to Mexican folk art, but creates bronze sculpture in the Latin American Surrealistic and Fantasy style. Much of his work exaggerates the human body.
Regardless or your sclpture preferences, Guadalajara is a haven of visual beauty.