Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bellas Artes San Miguel de Allende

I'm linking up at Monday Mural hosted by Oakland Daily Photo.

January 2016 - San Miguel de Allende Mexico

Bellas Artes is also known as Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante” is only two blocks from the busy Jardín, but it is an oasis of peace and quiet.

The building was originally constructed in 1755-65 as the cloister area of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception (Las Monjas) The convent was founded by María Josefa Lina de la Canal y Hervás, daughter of one of the most famous of all great San Miguel families, the Canal Family.

Quite the lifestyle!!! Their town home now houses the Banamex, right on the Jardín,

 and their country estate became the Instituto Allende. 

Associated with Mexico's Instituto Nacionál de Bellas Artes (INBA), this former place of prayer and contemplation is now dedicated to art.

Bust of Ignacio Ramirez, which is also the name of one's of town's markets.

It is ironic that a former convent, home to several generations of brides of Christ, is now named for one of Mexico's most famous atheists.
Thanks to Wikipedia I learn the following.

Juan Ignacio Paulino Ramírez Calzada (22 June 1818 - 15 June 1879) was a Mexican writer, poet, journalist,lawyer, atheist, and political libertarian from San Miguel de Allende, then called San Miguel el Grande. His father had been a prominent federalist politician. In writings, Ramírez used the pen name, El Nigromante (The Necromancer).

Ramirez is famous in Mexico's literary annals for his speech at the Academy on a topic so controversial that had the effect of a dynamite explosion: "There is no God. Natural beings sustain themselves" (("No hay Dios; los seres de la naturaleza se sostienen por sí mismos").

Long after his death, his atheism was the subject of a scandal in 1948 when muralist Diego Rivera painted a mural at the Del Prado Hotel with Ramírez holding a sign reading, "Dios no existe" ("God does not exist"). Rivera would not remove the inscription, so the mural was not shown for 9 years – after Rivera agreed to remove the offending words. He stated: "To affirm "God does not exist", I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez; I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis. I am not an enemy of the Catholics, as I am not an enemy of the tuberculars, the myopic or the paralytics; you cannot be an enemy of the sick, only their good friend in order to help them cure themselves.

Some of the murals.
"WASHERWOMEN" - By Eleanor Cohen in 1941.

"Fanaticism of the people" - By Pedro Martinez in 1939. (The Vampire Hunt)

"WEAVERS" - By Pedro Martinez in 1940.

Cool serene hallways.

Lovely garden with chairs where people feel free to lounge and relax. Art is sprinkled around.

There was a guard on this gallery and the guard was happy to explain the murals in the room.
I was excited to see the name Siqueiros on the door as I had just finished reading Frida and knew that Siqueiros was a contemporary of her husband Diego Rivera and along with Orozco are considered the fathers of mexican Muralism.
Click here for some of Orozco's murals we saw earlier in the month in Guadalajara.

We are not allowed to take photos but we learn that Siqueiros never finished this work of art which takes up the whole room.

It seems Siqueiros left the project in the late 1940s after a political disagreement with an administrator from the Escuela Universitaria de Bellas Artes. The National Institute of Fine Arts acquired the rundown building in 1962, establishing the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez – El Nigromante in honor of the San Miguel writer, atheist and progressive thinker. Theater props had been stored in the room until 1997, when Vida y Obra de General Ignacio Allende went on view for the centennial of Siqueirosʼs birth. 

It may be unfinished but that doesn't diminish the sense of awe one feels. The guard showed us that the heart shape on the upper left shifted depending on the angle you viewed it from.


There are classrooms upstairs and a great view of the church of the Immaculate Conception (Las Monjas). I will have to take us inside the church!!


  1. I love the bold colours and style of art in the murals. Actually, I would love the visit the town!

  2. Oh my, we definitely are among the greats here in San Miguel de Allende. Thanks for contributing to this week's Monday Mural.

  3. Hi Jackie, thanks for your visit. I just watched the move about Frieda myself. Did you find Bardstown? We are Central Ky. Historic district. Bourbon Capital of the World due to the limestone water in Ky. Most folks from here came from Maryland from Ireland due to Roman Catholic intolerance. Come again. Loved your post.


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