"San Francisco Monastery" Quito Things to Do Tip by travelmad478

Quito Things to Do: 454 reviews and 1,200 photos


The church attached to the San Francisco monastery is Quito's largest, and the complex also contains an excellent museum with a major collection of colonial religious art. To see the whole place, pay $2.50 to enter the museum and take the free guided tour, which includes the choir loft of the church. The loft is decorated with relief sculptures of the martyrs of the church. One of these is Santa Lucia: notice the little golden box she's holding, which contains her eyes--removed with her own hands in order to avoid attracting the attentions of men and stay true to God. (Yikes!)

The museum is housed in one of the cloisters of the monastery, which is still a working religious institution. A special part of the collection is the paintings on alabaster. There are also paintings, carvings, sculptures, and architectural pieces.

In this museum, and indeed throughout all of Quito's religious monuments, we were struck by the amazing bloodiness of all of the representations of the sufferings of Christ and the various martyrs. In Quito, the Indian artists who were responsible for most of the religious artwork were very enthusiastic with their depictions of blood and gore. One of our guides mentioned that this was a subtle reference to the suffering that Ecuador's indigenous people had similarly endured at the hands of the Spanish conquerors.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jan 31, 2004
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