Guadalupe, Basilica of

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Guadalupe, Basilica of

Basilica of Guadalupe, the church near Mexico City built to shelter the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Over the centuries several buildings have housed the famous image of the vision which is said to have appeared in 1531. The first sanctuary was modest, but a larger church was finished in 1622 when the cult had begun to acquire fame. A grander building in tezontle and limestone was erected between 1695 and 1709 by Pedro de Arrieta. However, an undated plan signed by José Durán may represent a first or an alternative project. In it the church has a central plan, as is appropriate for a sanctuary, and a tower at each corner. What was built by Arrieta and still exists is a Latin cross with a nave, side aisles, and a dome over the crossing—a building that was basically rectangular and retained the four towers. The considerable protrusion of the apse area, like the decoration of the interior, is due to extensive late-nineteenth-century restoration and remodeling. The facade portal with sober Corinthian columns, a narrative relief, and many angular elements is notable for its projection onto the plaza.

In 1904 the church was elevated to the rank of basilica. Despite repeated restorations, uneven settling of the ground under Arrieta's church provoked fears that it would collapse, and it was closed in 1976. Between 1974 and 1976, a new basilica with a tentlike silhouette was built by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and his associates to house the image.

See alsoArchitecture: Architecture to 1900xml .


George Kubler, Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and Their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800 (1959); Álbum del 450 aniversario de las apariciones de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (1981), pp. 284-289.

Additional Bibliography

Cuadriello, Jaime, Carmen de Monserrat Robledo Galván, and Beatriz Berndt León Mariscal. La Reina de las Américas: Works of Art from the Museum of the Basílica de Guadalupe. Chicago: Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, 1996.

                                       Clara Bargellini