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Tiny tile mosaic honors city’s most celebrated benefactor

Guadalajara painter Jorge Monroy’s last two murals depicted the city’s most beloved public figure, Fray (Friar) Antonio Alcalde. So guess who is the subject of his most recent work, which has been transformed into his first outdoor mosaic?

pg8aOnce again it is the ever-popular Alcalde. However, this portrait of the venerable 18th-century bishop is slightly different.

“It’s not really my Alcalde,”  Monroy told me in his mountain-top studio just west of town.  “I think this is the first attempt to render him just as the celebrated novelist Agustín Yáñez wanted him to appear.”

The mosaic—which measures six by nine meters—now proudly dominates an important intersection of the city at the north end of Paseo Alcalde, a 23-block-long pedestrian walkway designed for abuelitos, niños, teens and others to stroll about in the tradition of Mexican pueblitos.

The mosaic literally gives Fray Alcalde a new face.

“No one really knows what Alcalde looked like,” Monroy said. “We painters would just make up a face, but in this case, I had access to the friar’s death mask, so I think this is a realistic rendition.”

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