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The Capillas of San Miguel de Allende: A Legacy of Faith

By Lorie Topinka

What is a capilla? A capilla is a chapel, a place of worship with its own altar. The smallest capillas tend to be square, and the larger ones tend to be rectangular. All have simple altars, and almost all have one bell tower. There is homogeneity in design among the capillas, with simplicity and restraint being attractive keynotes.

“The Capillas of San Miguel de Allende: A Legacy of Faith”
Watercolor Exhibition and Book Signing
By Linda Whynman and Lorie Topinka
Thu, Oct 13, 5–7pm
Tourism Office
Jardín Principal 10
Part of the profits go to Audubon

The artists, Linda Whynman and I, started out simply as two watercolorists doing what we like to do: paint. We ended up falling in love with the countryside of San Miguel, its people, and the thrill of discovering a new capilla every week. At some point, the idea of publishing a book came to us, not particularly to showcase our paintings but rather to encourage others to explore the country surrounding our jewel of a city, San Miguel de Allende.

There are many stories to tell and capillas to visit. In this book we suggest various routes through the countryside. Robert de Gast found and photographed some 300 capillas in and around San Miguel over the course of a year, and there are more waiting to be discovered.

Let this book be your guide as you venture beyond San Miguel de Allende and discover for yourself these humble legacies of faith that dot the countryside. We have included maps and directions to ranchos where one or more capillas can be found.

“As many times as we have painted these simple capillas, we continue to be captivated by their humble beauty. Along with schools, clinics, and soccer fields, each functional capilla is central to the life of the ranchos. These active capillas—like the abandoned ones—are legacies of faith from the past.”

Lorie Topinka was a science educator and administrator in her previous life but has been happily retired here in San Miguel de Allende for the last four years, dabbling in watercolors and pastels.

Linda Whynman and her husband Saul retired to San Miguel de Allende over 12 years ago from New York. Linda has been involved in art and art education her entire professional career.


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