Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Jeweler to the Divine

Calle La Ronda, Quito, Ecuador
When, while walking down Quito's short Calle La Ronda, you hear the clinking of someone hammering metal, you have reached the studio Germán Campos Alarcon.  He is an orfebre, what in English we would call a metalsmith, and a very famous one at that. 

Germán Campos Alarcon, Orfebre
Señor Campos is a famous man in Quito.  Many tourists and locals buy his jewelry, but you will also find his clients in the very oldest, most historic churches of this colonial city.

In the Latin American world, it is customary to adorn statues of Jesus, Mary and the saints with gold or silver accessories to convey their divinity.   The gold crown-like ornament on this Holy Week image in Merida, MX is a physical representation of Jesus' spiritual powers, his holiness.

Jesus Nazareno, Holy Week Merida, MX
Puebla's Señora de los Remedios wears a crown, showing her position as Queen of Heaven and halo.
Figure of Señora de los Remedios, Puebla, MX
These figures are displayed for public adoration during Holy Week in Granada, Nicaragua.

Holy Week Figures, Granada, Nicaragua

Sr. Campos' busy studio is full of examples of his diverse work. 

Studio of Germán Campos Alarcon, Quito Ecuador

Studio of Germán Campos Alarcon, Quito Ecuador
Studio of Germán Campos Alarcon, Quito Ecuador
Studio of Germán Campos Alarcon

He does not only traditional Spanish Colonial-style metalwork, but is also known for his reproductions of pre-Columbian Ecuadoran artifacts.
Germán Campos Alarcon at work in his studio, Quito Ecuador

Making these beautiful objects is a complex process, as you might guess from the array of tools on his work table. Here are some wonderful videos that show Sr. Campos at work. You will see a master's hands transforming metal into objects of dazzling beauty and spiritual depth.

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