Visit to the Museo Nacional del Virreinato on Thursday october 22 from 1.00 pm to 5pm.
The National Museum of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (in Spanish Museo Nacional del Virreinato) is located in the former College of San Francisco Javier convent complex in Tepotzotlán, Mexico State, Mexico. About 9 miles (45 min) from Casa Lago, the seminar location.
History: The complex was built by the Jesuits in the 1580s. Three centers of learning were founded: A school to teach indigenous languages to Jesuit evangelists, a school for Indian boys and the College of San Francisco Javier, to train Jesuit priests. The complex comprises three sections: the College area, with dormitories, library, kitchen, domestic chapel etc.; the Church of San Francisco Javier; and the Church of San Pedro Apostol. The former college and the Church of San Francisco Javier have been converted into the Museo del Virreinato, with the former college area housing a large collection of art and ordinary objects from the colonial era, and the Church of San Francisco Javier housing one of the most important collections of Churrigueresque altarpieces in Mexico. The Church of San Pedro Apostol is the only part of the entire complex that is still used for religious purposes.
The College of San Francisco Javier
The Jesuits arrived in Mexico in 1572, too late for the evangelization of most of the populace of central Mexico, most of which had already been done by other orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians by the 1580s. However, the Jesuits did find a need in education. The Jesuits arrived to Tepotzotlán in the 1580s and took up residence in local structures.
Most of the complex is taken up by the Museo del Virreinato situated in what used to be the College of San Francisco Javier. The Museo is considered to be one of the most impressive in the country due both to its collection and to the aesthetics of the building that houses it. The complex contains a number of interior courtyards, such as the Aljibes and the Naranjo, as well as a domestic chapel, library, dormitories, refectory, and kitchen. A wide arched passageway in the back of the complex leads to the extensive gardens area of more than 3 hectares, filled with gardens, sculptures and the original Salta de Agua fountain, which marked the end of the old Chapultepec aqueduct. Much of its collection is made of liturgical pieces from the old Museum of Religious Art which was part of the Mexico City Cathedral. These are distributed among the many rooms of the college complex. There are pieces done in ivory, wood and a paste made from corn stalks among other materials. Religious vestments that were in the Religious Art museum include chasubles, dalmatic stoles, capes and bags for corporals and maniples. Work in precious metals, especially silver, include a wide variety of monstrance and tabernacles, chalices, reliquaries, naviculas, crosses, censers, candlesticks, and ciboria.
Church of San Francisco Javier
The Church of San Francisco Javier was begun in 1670 and finished in 1682. Design of the building is attributed to José Duran. The layout of the church is of typical Latin cross design with a cupola with a pendentive. The groin vaults of the church preserve decorative motifs. In the pendentive is a mural from the 17th century which is identified as Saint Aloysius Gonzaga with tiger lilies as a symbol of purity. The facade of the church of San Francisco Javier was constructed between 1760 and 1762 of grey stone and covered the original facade from the 17th century. This facade is considered to be the most important of the Churriguerisque style in Mexico. The Church of San Francisco Javier is no longer used for religious services and is now part of the museum.
Church of San Pedro Apostol
To the left of the Church of San Francisco Javier is the Church of San Pedro Apostol with its main entrance facing the atrium and done in Neoclassic style. It is the only part of the museum complex that still preserves its religious function and services