The religious group that forms the Temple and the Convent of the Most Pure Conception, represents one of the most important accomplishments of the population that lived in Villa de San Miguel the Great (today known as Allende) in the XVIII century.
The Royal Convent of the Most Holy Pure Conception was built by the initiative of María Josefa Lina de la Canal y Hervas (1736 – 1770).
Today is the Cultural Center Nigromante “Bellas Artes”.
When her parents died María Josefa Lina de la Canal inherited a capital of 70 000 pesos. In 1751, only fifteen years old girl, she expressed her desire to be a religious woman.
It was priest Luís Felipe Neri de Alfaro the first one to know her desire, who recommended for her move to the sanctuary of Atotonilco, to shape her thoughts with the help of prayer and penance.
After eight days of confinement, she was not only confirming her already made decision to take holy orders, but also to founding a convent at Villa de San Miguel the Great, dedicated with deep fervor to the Inmaculated Conception, using only the money inherited from her father.
On September 21st, 1754 King Fernando VI issued a license to build up the temple, from Spain.
From the first moments of the founding of the convent until the opening of the new temple, María Josefa de la Canal worked to support economically and spiritually the project that she herself had thought of.
She passed away five years after the opening of the Convent of the Conception (on august 9th, 1770).
The building of the Temple and Convent of the Most Pure Conception was done by an architect from Queretaro, Francisco Martínez Gudiño.
Gudiño used the help of three artists from San Miguel: Pedro Joaquín de Tapia and Salvador Antonio Hernández, who had great experience and were masters in architecture. He also used the advice of Francisco de Lara Villagomez.
The construction of the Temple started in 1755 and ten years later (on December 28th, 1765) was inaugurated with the relocation of the nuns into the new building.
The Temple was still unfinished.
It was missing the towers, the chancel bell tower and altars.
These were concluded during the first half of the XIX century.
The dome was another of the great things missing of the temple.
It was the work of the master mason Zeferino Gutiérrez (who also built the façade pseudo gothic of the parochial temple).
He got his inspiration from the monumental church of the invalids from Paris, with the help from a great Mexican artist, known as Dr. Atl.
The dome is made of two parts, the first one is sustained by pairs of columns that frame eight large windows; then follows a small fringed railing by small hollows formed by a semicircular arch.
The second part is made of a balustrade that holds statues of saints put exactly above each pair of columns of the first body; finally the dome has a magnificent cupola where the image of the Most Pure Conception is.
The Temple of the Conception has a very valuable pictorial collection, with the work of renowned novo Hispanics painters from the XVII century; just to mention, two portraits of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, made by painter Miguel Cabrera; a series of the life of the Virgin from the brush of Juan Rodríguez Juárez; a Heart of Jesus by Jesús Gómez, made in 1820 and some works of Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre (who decorated the Temple of the Sanctuary of Atotonilco).
How this Virtual Tour was made
This religious group is really a gem of the architecture of San Miguel de Allende.
The photography of the interiors were taken during the afternoon, around four, when the sun was on the zenith and thanks to that the windows were not over exposed.
However, I still had to use a number of times the known technique of the lights mask, for conditions where the interiors do not have much illumination and are large windows.
It is very useful to mix pictures.
The photography of the outside was done very early, around six in the morning, getting a hue blue that I really like.
Visiting San Miguel de Allende is a real pleasure.
On every street you can take infinite pictures. A really recommended place.
English language translation made by Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa through the collaboration of Centro de Estudio de Idiomas