Chile: Museo Colonial de San Francisco

Attached to the church is the convent which now houses a collection of colonial art as the Museo Colonial de San Francisco.  IMG_6539

There were gorgeous peacocks in the grounds ….    IMG_6550a.IMG_6546

Sign above one of the doorways: IMG_6540

On display are figurines, dolls, silverware, paintings, tapestries and furniture along with altar pieces and religious art.  There are also religious artifacts such as whips, rods and spiked metal “cilices”  used by the Franciscan monks. (I Google so you don’t have to… cilice: a hairshirt worn to induce discomfort or pain as a sign of repentance and atonement.).

There’s also a medical book dated 1759 which gives graphic instructions on how to amputate an arm!

There are 42 paintings of the Cuzco style representing the life of Saint Francis Assisi dating back to the latter years of 1700.  (I Google again:  Cusqueña paintings are characterized by their use of exclusively religious subjects, their lack of perspective & predominance of red, yellow and earth colors. They are also remarkable for their lavish use of gold leaf).

In most of the rooms there was no photography allowed but I took a few when permitted.  This is a Genealogical tree of the Franciscan order painted in 1723.   The painting is by Juan Espinosa de los Monteros and is believed to have been used to teach the history of the Order.   It shows general information about the Order including its foundation, and general rules.  There are also branches of cardinals, pontiffs, popes, kings, queens and nobles who were members of the order with their names and coat of arms.   The work is crowned by a depiction of the Immaculate Conception.    IMG_6556a

A couple of the artwork:


A piece that appealed to me: IMG_6557a

A typical “cell” of a monk IMG_6558

And a room dedicated to Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral including her Nobel Medal!     IMG_6559



14 responses

  1. Good heavens, the description of the hair shirt! The things people did back in the day to prove their devotion.

    The building is beautiful, however. I love Spanish Colonial architecture. Whenever I can, I try to visit the very few remnants of such churches and missions in California. Unfortunately, Spanish Colonial art and altars have become trendy in the US, so the churches have become easy targets for thieves, who strip the interiors. I am glad to see this isn’t a problem in Chile.

    • Yes, it doesn’t seem right that one has to suffer pain to prove devotion; shouldn’t it be love…..

      I was surprised everywhere we went at the seeming casualness surrounding the display of art etc. It was rather nice but it was also a bit disconcerting – it didn’t seem “normal”.

  2. I *love* visiting old cathedrals! Long before you mention the objets de torture, I had the idea those saints along the porch were reaching out to whack me one! Interesting…

  3. Gorgeous pictures, what a cool place. Ah, and a fun place to live no doubt back then…..sheesh. Sometimes I wish we’d discover medieval medicine and living was just a fictional tale……

  4. Excellent pics and story again Emjay.
    I knew some Franciscan monks in PNG and it wouldn’t surprise me if they had a few whips and spikes hidden away in the cupboard.

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