Meandering into Saint Teresa Colonial Art Museum almost by accident, we were swept into its vortex of calm and beauty while a pedestrian rush hour of sorts gathered outside its doors. The surrounds hit you like an instant course in meditation, as though you’ve just spent hours in deep contemplation of your yoga breathing.
Like the Monasterio Santa Catalina nearby, this is not only a museum, but also a living convent for about 40 nuns—these Carmelite— who use many of the magnificent halls for their religious devotionals. Unlike the more famous Monasterio Santa Catalina with an army of tour guides serving an ongoing stream of tourists, Convento Santa Teresa seems relatively undiscovered. In the last hour of a weekday we seemed to have the museum largely to ourselves, until a tour guide and tourist arrived, our only other companions.
Deconstructing How The Art Was Made
While the splendor of the collections as a whole are what will ultimately dazzle you, the first room in your self-guided tour (if no tour guide is available) sets the stage to appreciate what is to come- -and actually, all of the religious art a Peru tourist sees. How fascinating to see the deconstruction of artists and artisan techniques to make the paintings and sculpted figurines!
The tour continues to a total of 17 spaces, including the entranceway where you can buy goodies made by the nuns, garden spaces and walkways, in addition to the many exhibit rooms. Whether planned or happening by the by, one finds the restful gardens and even corridors to be the perfect antidote, if you will, to the sensory explosion of digesting the art collections.
You May Want to Visit Saint Teresa Colonial Art Museum More than Once
If budget allows, this is one of the Arequipa places where you might want to return just to be, if your stay is longer. Admission is about US$6 per person or half that if you go on the 16th of the month.
Monday to Saturday: from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Calle Melgar 303
S /. 20.00
University Student and Senior Adult: S /. 10.00
School students: S /. 5.00
DOS x UNO: Every 16th of the month, remembering the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen, the entrance is promotional, two visitors for the value of one.
For more information, visit the Saint Teresa Colonial Art Museum website.