Museo de El Carmen

Art San Ángel
3 out of 5 stars
 (Foto: Alfredo Vélez)
Foto: Alfredo Vélez
 (Foto: Alfredo Vélez)
Foto: Alfredo Vélez
 (Foto: Alfredo Vélez)
Foto: Alfredo Vélez
 (Foto: Alfredo Vélez)
Foto: Alfredo Vélez
 (Foto: Alfredo Vélez)
Foto: Alfredo Vélez

Located in the old village of San Ángel, this museum has enjoyed certain privileges because of its geographical location and the folkloric traditions that have forged its particular character.

Further, its historical and architectural richness earned a spot in the national area of ​​historical monuments in 1984 since it’s the old San Angelo Martyr College. Today, the Museum of El Carmen, is most important of the more than 80 museums in the region.

This spot is an absolute must. Not only for the sacred art – paintings, sculptures, engravings, and exhibitions -  housed here but, for the architecture. Arguably the most valuable work is the building itself; a stoic construction with harmonious proportions and a deep serenity which challenges the megalopolis’ hustle and bustle.

It was built by Carmelitas Descalzas (one of the most respected religious groups of New Spain) in 1616 for dressing their priests. The design and construction were led by Friar Andres de San Miguel.

The entrance to the museum is next to the Church of Carmen that still remains in the custody of the Carmelitas. The entrance is through the lower cloister, as a sign of humility, the convents of this order only had open hallways on the top floor. There’s a timeline and some introductory info in the first room and towards the east of the cloister is the access to the sacristy, a dazzling room designed to store the sacred costumes and the accessories for mass. In this room are the finely-crafted dressers, drawers and cupboards as well as magnificent canvases by Cristóbal de Villalpando.

An essential part of the sacristy was the bathroom, dressed in Spanish tile and complete with a mural painting. From here you can go up to the dorms on the first floor or descend to the famous crypts of Carmen, where the friars who lived in the school were buried. There are also the famous mummies in glass coffins.

On the upper level are the friars’ quarters, most of them adapted as rooms with paintings and sculptures of sacred art which are the Carmelitas artifacts. In the domestic chapel, you can also take in an authentic Solomon Baroque table, carved by artist Francisco Martínez during the early eighteenth century.

The garden, complete with aqueduct, is located in the back and serves as a reminder of the Carmelitas appreciation for gardening. An attractive place not only the aesthetic and the works of art, but because it also hosts family-friendly cultural activates year-round.

By: Alfredo Vélez


Venue name: Museo de El Carmen
Address: Revolución s/n
San Ángel
Mexico City
Cross street: Monasterio
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm
Transport: Metrobús La Bombilla
Price: $55
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