Anahuacalli, the great dream of Diego Rivera

By Fernanda Duque Hernández

The modern City of Arts.

The nationalist influence the art scene had in Mexico during the 30’s and 40’s, left a tremendous mark on the walls and buildings around Mexico City… Places and spaces that portrayed across –with multi colored strokes of paint- revolutionary ideas from the greatest muralists of the 20th Century, such as David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera; this last one being one of Mexico’s greatest artists, whose long devotion toward the defense and praise of Mexican Culture, led him to create Anahuacalli, the City of Arts.

This space was conceived by Diego Rivera as a site for the development of national art… A place where artistic disciplines could be mixed with popular culture, whilst respecting the balance with the natural environment that surrounds the municipality of Coyoacan.

mexico news Anahuacalli

Anahuacalli is a modern pyramid, which grew out of the same volcanic stone from where it was constructed; a place that evokes in each of its architectural details features of the Teotihuacan, Mexica and Maya culture. As a matter of fact, inside its walls lay 59,400 pieces of pre-Hispanic art -collected by Diego throughout his life- which are completely preserved.

The peculiar construction of each of its three levels, were created to represent the three pre-Hispanic Worlds. The first floor -which is barely illuminated by the light that comes from the translucent onyx of its windows- keeps a collection with different pieces that resemble an altar of the Templo Mayor.

The next floor, more illuminated and colored, is an offering to mortal life; above it, following the stairs, you’ll come across the studio of Rivera, where many of his original sketches are preserved as well as the drawings of the mural that Diego especially created for the Rockefeller Center in New York, which was destroyed because it displayed a portrait of Lenin on it. You’ll also find portrayed here, the original draw of the missing mural of Rivera, Pesadilla de guerra, sueño de paz.

mexican culture Anahuacalli

Although its construction (which began in 1941) took 23 years to complete, "The atmosphere of this museum, created by the great donor, has no equal in the world. His high spirituality and beauty makes Anahuacalli an unforgettable museum”, said Mexican poet and museographer, Carlos Pellicer, “the personal effort and the artistic genius of the collector and his touching generosity are gathered in this museum in a monumental way".

Diego Rivera's dream was fulfilled. Anahuacalli is a space dedicated to the arts, which -in over 50 years- has hosted major national and international exhibitions, along with workshops of different disciplines such as dance, music and theater.

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