These drawings—architectural exercises, really—are part of the bid that Diego de la Sierra, then living in Puebla de los Angeles, made to become “maestro mayor,” or master architect, in New Spain. In them, he demonstrated his knowledge of the vocabulary of European architecture. We see the classical orders arrayed in the columns from left to right: following the one labeled “Tuscan,” is a Doric, an Ionic, and a Corinthian, as well as works of engineering, like piping and trusses. On the reverse of this page, Sierra drew basic building plans (a house, a church), doorways and arches.
Like other architects of the day, Sierra had to pass local examinations to practice his art, but looked to Europe for training as well as advancement. Sierra was born in Seville, learned these models from European architectural treatises, and appealed to the Spanish-based Council of the Indies for confirmation as “maestro mayor.”
Bérchez, Joaquín. 1992. Arquitectura mexicana de los siglos XVII y XVIII. Mexico City: Azabache.
Bérchez, Joaquín. 1999. “Dibjujos de albañilería, arquitectura,…” In Los siglos de oro en los virreinatos de America: 1550-1700. Pp. 284-286. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoracion de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V.