My trip this week to Tucson was filled with meetings, tours of work-related projects, and presentations. But one part of the tour allowed me to slip into full-tourist mode: the visit to San Xavier Del Bac.
A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain.
This is – simply stated – a spectacular building of international importance, with masonry vaults and beautiful interior artwork, the latter restored after $2 million was raised by the local community. Little is known about the artists – most likely from Queretero in current-day Mexico – but their work mixes New Spain and Native American motifs. The architect, Ignacio Gaona, designed what many consider to be the finest example of Spanish mission architecture in the United States.
We had a great tour from Bob, one of the leaders of the Patronanto San Xavier, who recommended A Gift of Angels by Bernard Fontana as the best book on the artwork of the mission. A more appropriate title was never penned. I’ve posted pictures from inside, outside, and then of the small passageway that is in the walls of the bell tower to provide access to the choir loft.
More to come…