Thursday, May 9, 2024

The Three Virtues

Atop the clock tower of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City there were three sculptures representing the three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  These were created by Manuel Tolsá, the Spanish-born architect and sculptor who introduced the Neoclassical style to Mexico at the end of the colonial period.

On September 19, 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico, and there was significant loss of life and damage in Mexico City.  One of the statues, the one representing Hope, fell to the ground.  Later, the other two statues, were removed from the clock tower.  One story which I heard was that those two statues would be put in a museum where they would be safe in case of future earthquakes.

Last Saturday, when Alejandro and I were downtown, as we passed the Cathedral, we noticed that the three statues were on the clocktower once again.

I have not been able to find any information about the sculptures on the internet.  I thought that Hope, the statue to the left, had been smashed beyond repair.  Zooming in on the three, you can see that the anchor held by Hope, the cross held by Faith, and the flame on the head of Charity are yellow.  Gold gilt?  Were those features of the statues originally gilded?

I have no idea what the story is, other than the fact that the three virtues are once again on the Cathedral.

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