Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sistine Chapel of San Miguel

My parents and I went out to El Santuario de Atotonilco at the weekend to see what is called "sistine chapel of San Miguel". The church is a place of pilgrimage and penitence and people travel from all over the country to pray and meditate here.

The building of the church began in 1740 and took more than 35 years to complete.  All the walls were painted by one local artist at that time - who worked there for 30 years!  I can't imagine working on one project for all that time!

The church is dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth and the priest and painter seemed to prefer the bloodier events to depict so there is a heavy focus on suffering and blood!

For centuries the church was then neglected until about 15 years ago when the World Monuments Fund added it to its list of "100 Most Endangered Monuments".  With money from American Express and the state, the building's facade and murals are now being restored.  The church is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The day we were there, there were two weddings taking place. It was lovely to see.

The restoration is still in progress, but you can get a real sense of all the work that has gone into it.  I still can't get over how one man would keep painting there for 30 years!  I get bored on one project after a week!!!


Lorena Angulo said...

Beautiful !!!!

vilterietje said...

magical building! love, riet:)

Ruth said...

It is just an incredible place! Such intricate paintings and it's great to see all the restoration work going on too. These places definitely shouldn't be lost...