A Gift of Angels
376 pages, 12 x 14
200 color photographs, 12 illustrations
Release Date:20 Sep 2010
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A Gift of Angels

The Art of Mission San Xavier del Bac

By Bernard L. Fontana; By (photographer) Edward McCain
The University of Arizona Press
It rises suddenly out of the Sonoran Desert landscape, towering over the tallest tree or cactus, a commanding building with a sensuous dome, elliptical vaults, and sturdy bell towers. There is nothing else like it around, nor does it seem there should be. This incongruity of setting is what strikes first-time visitors to Mission San Xavier del Bac. This great church is of another place and another time, while its beauty is universal and timeless.

Mission San Xavier del Bac is a two-century-old Spanish church in southern Arizona located just a few miles from downtown Tucson, a metropolis of more than half a million people in the American Southwest. A National Historic Landmark since 1963, the mission’s graceful baroque art and architecture have drawn visitors from all over the world.

Now Bernard Fontana—the leading expert on San Xavier—and award-winning photographer Edward McCain team up to bring us a comprehensive view of the mission as we’ve never seen it before. With 200 stunning full-color photographs and incisive text illuminating the religious, historical, and motivational context of these images, A Gift of Angels is a must-have for tourists, scholars, and other visitors to San Xavier.

From its glorious architecture all the way down to the finest details of its art, Mission San Xavier del Bac is indeed a gift of angels.
This remarkable inventory of the church's riches in art, down to the last detail of interior and facade, is splendidly recorded by photographer Edward McCain in addition to Fontana's informative text.'
California Territorial Quarterly

“A symphony of words and images and a fitting homage to the early Southwest’s greatest architectural monument. This book is a stunning achievement.” —John P. Schaefer, former president of the University of Arizona and co-founder of the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography
Bernard L. Fontana is the author of many articles and books, including Entrada: The Legacy of Spain and Mexico in the United States. He is also the author of Biography of a Desert Church: The Story of Mission San Xavier del Bac, which remains the standard source on the mission’s history. Edward McCain is an award-winning photojournalist and landscape and art photographer. He has lectured on photography at universities and workshops across the country. Winner of the 2003 Arizona Highways magazine’s Gold Award for Photographic Excellence, his work has appeared in such publications as Arizona Highways, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Sunset Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report.
List of Diagrams
Thank You
1 Introduction
The Catalog
2 The Façade
3 The Sotocoro
4 The Baptistery
5 The Nave
6 The Cupola
7 The Drum
8 The Crossing
9 The Sanctuary
10 The East Transept
11 The West Transept
12 The Choir Loft
13 The Sacristy
References Cited
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