National Art Museum

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The Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL) (English: National Museum of Art) is the Mexican national art museum, located in the historical center of Mexico City. The museum is housed in a neoclassical building at No. 8 Tacuba, Col. Centro, Mexico City. It includes a large collection representing the history of Mexican art from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid 20th century. It is recognizable by Manuel Tolsá‘s large equestrian statue of Charles IV of Spain, who was the monarch just before Mexico gained its independence. It was originally in the Zocalo but it was moved to several locations, not out of deference to the king but rather to conserve a piece of art, according to the plaque at the base. It arrived at its present location in 1979.

The collection of art from the colonial period is entitled “Asimilación de occidente” (Assimilation of the West) and are contained within Salons 1-14 on the second floor. This collection shows how western-style painting transferred over and synthesized in Mexico, eventually leading to the establishment of Mexico’s own fine arts institution, the Academy of San Carlos, the first of its kind in the Americas. Art from the first century of Mexican Independence (1810–1910) is entitled “La construcción de la Nación” (Construction of a Nation) housed in Salons 19-26 of the second floor. Coinciding with the Romanticism period, most paintings have themes such as Mexican customs and landscapes with the purpose of defining a Mexican identity. The last time period is titled “Estrategías plásticas para un México moderno” (Strategies for the fine arts in modern Mexico) and house in Salons 27-33 on the first floor. Historically, this period is after the end of the Mexican Revolution when questions of modernity and nationalism were foremost. It also coincides with the development of the Mexican muralist movement.

Some of the salons are devoted to temporary exhibitions, such as the paintings of Pedro Gualdi from the 19th century, and more contemporary photography exhibitions by Carlos Monsivais and Marina Yampolsky. One of the latest exhibitions was called “The Practice of Everyday Life” which occurred in 2009.

Two rooms that stand out are the decoration of the Reception Hall and the sculptures in the Patio de los Leones. The Reception Hall is on the second floor and designed to imitate the splendor of similar halls in Europe. It is profusely decorated with precious metal and crystal ornaments as well as allegorical murals dedicated to themes such as science, the arts, liberty, history, work and progress.

The work devoted to the concept of progress subdivides into four themes of force, justice, wisdom and wealth. This hall became the preferred place for President Porfirio Díaz to perform public declarations and receive dignitaries from abroad. Like the rest of the building the Patio of the Liones synthesizes a number of different architectural styles. The two primary styles seen here are Classic and Gothic with other styles introduced in the forms of sculptures, lighting and sculpted stonework. In the center is a large semicircular staircase to the upper floors.

Later in the 20th century, the building served as the Archivo General de la Nación and from 1982 as the Museo Nacional de Arte. The plaza in front of the building is named after Manuel Tolsá, who created the statue of Carlos IV there, also known as El Caballito. Today almost all of the building is used to house the permanent collection of MUNAL with the Reception Hall and the Patio de los Leones used for events such as concerts, book-signings and press conferences.

The collection

The museum’s permanent collection is designed to give a panoramic view of the development of the fine arts in Mexico from the early colonial period to the mid-twentieth century. The artwork is subdivided into three distinct periods. The first covers the colonial period from 1550 to 1821. The second covers the first century after Independence and the third covers the period after the Mexican Revolution to the 1950s. Works created after that time period are on display at a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in Chapultepec Park.

The museum’s permanent collection is designed to give a panoramic view of the development of the fine arts in Mexico from the early colonial period to the mid-twentieth century. The artwork is subdivided into three distinct periods. The first covers the colonial period from 1550 to 1821. The second covers the first century after Independence and the third covers the period after the Mexican Revolution to the 1950s. Works created after that time period are on display at a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in Chapultepec Park.

Art in the Museum.

The collection of art from the colonial period is entitled “Asimilación de occidente” (Assimilation of the West) and are contained within Salons 1-14 on the second floor. This collection shows how western-style painting transferred over and synthesized in Mexico, eventually leading to the establishment of Mexico’s own fine arts institution, the Academy of San Carlos, the first of its kind in the Americas. Art from the first century of Mexican Independence (1810–1910) is entitled “La construcción de la Nación” (Construction of a Nation) housed in Salons 19-26 of the second floor. Coinciding with the Romanticism period, most paintings have themes such as Mexican customs and landscapes with the purpose of defining a Mexican identity. The last time period is titled “Estrategías plásticas para un México moderno” (Strategies for the fine arts in modern Mexico) and house in Salons 27-33 on the first floor. Historically, this period is after the end of the Mexican Revolution when questions of modernity and nationalism were foremost. It also coincides with the development of the Mexican muralist movement.

Becky Mawson
Becky Mawson
2019-11-07
Verified review
Beautiful space This hotel was perfect and clean with lots of thoughtful touches. The management were really helpful with suggesting things to do during our stay too. It’s a little bit out of the way but only a 30 minute Uber to the historical district so was still easy to get around.
qianis
qianis
2019-05-07
Verified review
A perfect hotel in Mexico City! This is our first time in Mexico, we booked Mex Suites Casa Azul B&B for 4 nights, we enjoyed it so much in the end we extended our staying to a week.The hotel is located at a mid class neighborhood area, where you can experience a real Mexico City rather than only the tourist part. This area is really safe, we walk on the street at night time with no worries at all. There are a couple of convenience stores just a few steps away. It takes about 20mins to Uber to the airport and 15mins to downtown.Maurice is such a great host and a wonderful person. He helped us a lot and we felt so lucky to get to know him. We came to Mexico without any plans and without knowing nothing about Mexico. Maurice helped us made our trip gradually during our stay, not just in Mexico City but also the whole country.We love taking Metrobus a lot, it is a great way to explore the city. Maurice gave us a metro card on our first day, which is super helpful.We hope we can come back to visit Maurice again in the future:)
campbells05
campbells05
2018-01-15
Verified review
Comfortable, peaceful and great host I spent 3 nights here in early December as a single female traveller. The owner Mauricio has converted his former business building into this very comfortable and peaceful oasis in Mexico City.My room on the second level was large and beautifully decorated with traditional Mexican tiles, pottery and rugs. The bed was comfortable and there was a microwave and fridge in the room. The personalised welcome note, bottle of wine and fruit were nice touches. My room was at the back away from the road (which is a reasonably quiet side street). It only had a window in the bathroom so it was a bit dark but this didn't bother me and allowed me to relax away from the chaos and noise of the city! There is a shared guest dining area for breakfast with a kitchen and also a tiny outside terrace where I enjoyed sharing my wine with a fellow sole female traveller.Mauricio is a thoughtful host who shared interesting insights into Mexico and its history. He is a former chemical engineer who studied in the USA and is now developing an eco-tourism experience in Belize. He has a wide range of interests and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him. He was very helpful in providing suggestions for what to see, advice about safety and transport options, and can also organise a private driver for a tour to Teotihuacan at a reasonable cost.I felt very safe staying here and highly recommend this place for sole female travellers and first time visitors to Mexico. It is about 30-40 minutes from the airport and Mauricio gives useful instructions for where to catch an Uber (which is safe and a bit cheaper than taxis).
Cartelita V
Cartelita V
2017-08-04
Verified review
Superbe Un petit coin de paradis au cœur de Mexico... Un très bel accueil, des conseils avisés de la part de Mauricio le patron et beaucoup de tranquillité. La suite Dali que nous avions est très spacieuse, très bien équipée. La décoration de cette maison est typique et chaleureuse. Les petits déjeuners sont parfaits. Promis, nous reviendrons!
Kristin P
Kristin P
2017-07-15
Verified review
Beautiful, great staff, will be coming back! We spent four nights here on a trip to Cuernavaca last week. We cannot say enough good things about this hotel. First, the people who work here are lovely. A+ service. (for example, one night at midnight I was feeling poorly and they gave us phone numbers for clinics, doctors and pharmacies, and made phone calls for us to be sure they could accommodate if needed). The rooms are lovely- all decorated with different regions of Mexico. Each room is unique. We were in a room with Guerrero furnishings and I wanted to take everything home with me! They have two pools, both lovely, and a nice little restaurant. Prices are modest. This is a great hotel for families. We will be back!!! Oh, we love Patricia...I'm not sure what her role is, but she showed us 10+ rooms so we could see the furnishings. She is the epitome of excellent service!
EviBr
EviBr
2017-07-10
Verified review
The friendliest hotel owners ever!! We just finished our stay at casa azul and we felt blessed to have stayed there. Mauritio and Ely, the owners, go out of their way to help their guests. We had the unfortunate experience that our luggage did not make it to Mexico City after our long flight. One of our suitcases arrived at the hotel in the middle of the next night. Ely woke up to handle this and never complained about it. Unfortunately the other suitcase was missing. As from that point, Ely did everything she could to help me, she called a million times to every possible service that could help us, which is obviously a frustrating job that I would not be able to handle myself. Meanwhile she insisted that we took the time to explore the city instead of waiting around. In the end she was the one that got me my suitcase back and we were so so great-full!!! Also, besides this, upon arrival, Mauritio took the time to give us all kind of suggestions on how we could make the most out of our short stay in MC. He gave us maps, a metro card, tips on restaurants and so much more. We had a truly wonderful stay despite our troubles and we really cannot thank this couple enough. If we ever go back to MC, without a doubt we will be staying here!!!
Jennifer L
Jennifer L
2016-10-17
Verified review
Lugar lindo! Adorei a decoração! Estilo casa colonial mexicana, do jeito que imaginava. Equipe nota 1000! O Mauricio é super solicito e explica TUDO sobre a cidade! Sempre tem água no quarto e vários agradinhos sutpresa. Bairro tranquilo. Quarto grande com linda decoracao mexicana e ótimo banheiro e ducha! O ambiente é muito tranquilo! Fiquei encantada pela a casa!Para o meu gosto o colchão era duro e por esse motivo não dormi bem, o que não incomodou outras pessoas do grupo. Não é tão perto do metrô quando se está com pessoas idosas. Usamos muito o Uber e o preço é bem acessível. Café da manhã é a lá carte, mas bem servido, tem fruta, suco, mas tb não é minha opção preferida, pois gosto de escolher na hora.
Betthillo
Betthillo
2016-09-19
Verified review
Excellent for relaxation Excellent family run small hotel...mexican ambiance...good for relaxing after running in the city...close by top and also neighborhood bars and restaurants..sure to be back. Good price range. Don't expect amenities from a big hotel as bar or exercise room.