Photo by Lucas Vallecillos
The Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) in Mexico City has been hailed as one of the world's most beautiful buildings. It is also at the heart of the city's rich cultural life.
The Palacio de Bellas Artes was built in 1934, some 30 years after construction started. Its style is a mix of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Baroque which even has its own name – Porfirian – after the president when it was commissioned: Porfirio Díaz. His dream was to rebuild Mexico City like one of the great European cities, using Paris as a model but adding in Latin American influences. The grand vision was dashed, perhaps not coincidentally, by the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Like many others in the nearby Historic Center, the vast building, with its white Italian marble facade, has sunk several meters into the soft soil since it was opened. It is now home to the Ballet Folklórico de México and a regular venue for the National Symphonic Orchestra. But most visitors come to look at the Palace itself and the murals inside by Diego Rivera and other leading Mexican artists.
These include Rivera’s Man, Controller of the Universe which is considered his most important work. This is a copy of an unfinished mural commissioned by John D. Rockefeller for New York’s Rockefeller Center in 1933, which was destroyed after objections to its inclusion of Communist icons such as Lenin and Marx.
Sitting next to Alameda Park, the Palace enjoys a beautiful setting that is best enjoyed from the terrace café of the Sears store nearby at sunset.
Show me that beauty!