|Palacio de la Secretaría de Comunicaciones,|
now the National Museumn of Art, on Tacuba Street
Viewed from the Torre Latinoamericana
Passing through the lobby of what is now the National Museum of Art, you come to a grand double staircase reminiscent of the one in the nearby Palacio de Correos, the Postal Palace. It fills a semi-circular atrium lit by large windows.
|Click on any picture to enlarge it,|
A slide show will appear below it.
As you ascend one of the stairways, you look up two stories through the atrium
Neogothic and neoclassic details on the lamp bases and on the walls:
|This dragon is evidently female.|
On a frieze around the mural, nude children play in a kind of Dionysian revel.
Entering, you pass through a large anteroom and a second set of doors, into the grand Reception Hall, President Díaz's preferred place for making public declarations and receiving dignitaries from abroad.
You immediately realize that you are in a 19th century European royal palace. Allegorical murals of romanticized neoclassic figures representing the arts, science, liberty, history and work adorn the end and inside walls.
|Labor, the only man in the group.|
Above, on the ceiling, a grand mural of Progress bestowing her blessings.
You feel that the Spanish viceroys would have been comfortable here, as would Agustín Iturbide, Mexico's first, if brief, Emperor. Santa Ana would likely find it appealing. Certainly Emperor Maximilian, who grew up in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, would have felt right at home. However, Diáz's presidential predecessor, the spartan republican Benito Juárez, would not.
Back downstairs, in the interior courtyard outside the windows to the grand staircase, you meet two other classic symbolic figures.
A lion who seems to be reflecting on matters.
And one who is sleeping, or, perhaps, just very tired.
You wonder whether Porfirio Díaz, at the time this Palace was completed in the middle of the first decade of the 20th century and a few years before he was overthrown, was able to reflect on the thirty-some years of his reign and what he had wrought for Mexico, good and bad. Or whether, in his late 70's, he was just tired.
Other Posts on the Porfiriato Era
- The Porfiriato: French Culture Conquers Mexico City
- The Grandeza of Porfirio Díaz
- Centro Historico Porfiriato - Late Nineteenth Century Mexico City
- Colonia Santa María la Ribera: Early Twentieth Century Century Popurrí
- Colonia San Rafael: Decay, Renewal and Restoration
- Colonia Benito Juárez: Where History Lives in the Shadows
- Colonia Cuauhtémoc: The First Decades of the 20th Century Marry the First Decades of the 21st
- Colonia Roma Norte Part I: Houses—and a Culture—That Survived a Revolution
- Colonia Roma Norte - Part II: Dreams in Stone and Glass...and Paint
- Seeking Restored Vitality: Colonias of the Porfiriato Have Varying Success
- Colonia Condesa and Its Sisters: From Past to Present, Part I - Transition to the 1920's