It's no small thing to have been named one of the "grandes maestros del arte popular en México" by Fomento Cultural Banamex. In the eponymous book, originally published in 1999, Banamex designated Guadalupe Hermosillo Escobar and nearly 100 other fine Mexican popular artists as grand masters of their crafts. The artists come from many Mexican states and work in media ranging from textiles and clay to wood, paper, leather, and metal. Guadalupe Hermosillo Escobar, his wife María Esther Flores Najera, and his children Gerardo, Cristóbal, and Paola have worked exclusively in hand-wrought iron for over 20 years.
Born in Tapachula, Chiapas on December 12, 1962, Sr. Hermosillo moved to San Cristóbal de las Casas and learned the art of wrought iron. During the many years he has dedicated to his craft, he experimented with fire's intensity to give the metal different shades of color, from intense blue to silvery white, with natural finish flashes of red, green, and gold mixed into a single piece.
Around 1548, metal smiths in San Cristóbal began making house crosses, padlocks, latches, and door knockers. These earliest examples are either in museums or have disappeared over the course of more than 450 years. Sr. Hermosillo continues the tradition of fine metal work in his own art, following the early designs. His most-requested designs are la cruz de la pasión de Cristo (the cross of Christ's passion), el árbol de la vida (the tree of life), and hardware for the home.
The cruz de la pasión de Cristo is made entirely of symbols of the Crucifixion. In the photo above (click on it to enlarge it), you can see:
- the dove at the top of the cross, which represents peace and the Holy Spirit
- pliers, used to remove the nails from Christ's hands and feet after his death
- the moon, representing the darkness that fell as Christ died
- the sun, representing the passage of the day and its events
- the rooster, which crowed after Peter denied Christ for the third time
- the crown, representing divine light
- the ladder, used to lower Christ's body from the cross
- the butterfly, representing both Eve and the hope of the Resurrection
- the snake, symbol of evil and seduction
- the heart, symbol of Christ's love, pity, and virtue
- the spear used to pierce Christ's body
- palm fronds, remembering Palm Sunday
- the scales of justice, representing the Last Judgment
In 2002, Sr. Hermosillo won the prize "Fray Bartolomé de las Casas", the highest artistic award given by the State of Chiapas. During the years he has worked making fine metal art, he has won nearly every honor given in his field, has taught classes in traditional metalwork, and labors tirelessly to promote the art of traditional wrought iron work.
If you go to San Cristóbal, a visit to Guadalupe Hermosillo is a must. His museum and workshop are located at:
Avenida de la Jardinera #12
Colonia Jardines del Valle
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
You'll find Sr. Hermosillo there from Monday to Saturday, 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. He might also be there on Sundays from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM.