Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

Article by Hadazul Cruz—artist and student at CREA, outlining the Talla en Madera (wood carving) workshop, and the following Encarnado (polychrome) workshop.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

When the Spaniards arrived in Guatemala in 1524 they brought religion, arts, and culture with them. Since they didn’t speak native languages a simple way to evangelize the local population was through art. Thus, talented sculptors, painters, and other artists came to the New World with this single purpose.

In time indigenous artists took up their tools and joined Spanish artists in creating some of the most beautiful works of art in the New World that have survived the ravages of time.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

Students at CREA workshop, photo courtesy of CREA

Religious art is still of great importance, especially in Guatemalan culture. Centro de Rescate (CREA) and Estudio y Análisis Científico para el Arte recognized the need to establish conservation and restoration to promote formal academic research and scientific analysis of the cultural heritage in Guatemala.

CREA is also a study center that offers workshops for new artists who learn how to create colonial art in the traditional way using the same materials artists used almost 600 years ago.

 

First step, student´s learn how to calculate the measurements and proportions for the sculpture.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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Measurements are drawn on the pieces of wood.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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“Gubias” (gouges), instruments that are used to carve have changed very little over the centuries

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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Little by little the square shape begins to disappear.

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And the shape of the body appears.

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With the sculpting process done, the polychrome process begins. First step, add a couple of coats of  “Cola de Res” (beef cartilage boiled in water until it becomes a kind of varnish) to seal the wood pores.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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After applying “Cola de Res”, the “Base de Preparación”  is applied. “Base” is made of calcium carbonate, known in the world of art as “Blanco de España” and “Agua Cola” (cola de res diluted with water).

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After applying the “Base de Preparación” the pieces need to be polished in order to get a porcelain texture, for that, a fine sandpaper is used.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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The piece is then colored using traditional oil paints.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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In order to make the skin look very soft, the brush print is “erased” using a ram’s bladder to polish the piece.  Ram’s bladder properly curated can last for several months.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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Little by little, the details of skin and hair color begin to appear.

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Final details such as eyelashes, eyebrows and “Pátina” (patina) are added. Since the image will be robed, it is not necessary to elaborate on the whole body in detail.

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Each artist brings that personal touch that gives uniqueness to each piece.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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Students and teachers at the end of the course, left to right: Gabriela Chávez Castillo (Paper Laboratory Coordinator);  Iris Azucena Amésquita (Easel Painting Laboratory Technician); Ana Lucía González Muñoz (CREA Director); Hadazul Cruz (student); Pablo Pacheco (student); Sulema de Ávila (student); Guadalupe Laz, Sculpture Laboratory Technician.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

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The Center of Rescue, Study and Scientific Analysis of Art (CREA), specializes in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage artifacts and historical artwork. It offers services to communities, individuals and institutions with private heritage collections.

Workshop Sculpting a Religious Image Colonial Style

This work is done at the physicochemical laboratory and restoration laboratories of paper, easel painting and sculpture. The main focus is the development of new research protocols, application of new technologies and materials, and innovation of traditional conservation and restoration processes.

CREAMore Information about CREA :
Tel: +502 5440-5581 

Campus Médico San José,
Km. 28.5 carretera a Bárcenas Santa Lucía Milpas Altas, Guatemala or visit:

crea.com.gt 

facebook.com/CREArozasbotran or instagram.com/fund_crea

Suggested  video link: youtube.com/watch

REVUE magazine article and photos by Hadazul Cruz

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