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In the last few years, the MUNAL National Art Museum (Museo Nacional de Arte or MUNAL) has become the best place to get a complete panorama of Mexican pictorial and sculptural art, from Mexico’s Colonial period to the early years of the 20th century.
MUNAL National Art Museum
Besides being easily accessible, it is very near other sites of interest in Mexico City’s Historical Downtown.
History of Mexican Art
The National Art Museum holds and showcases a permanent collection of works of fine art, divided in three historical periods, synthesizing the history of Mexican art up to the first half of the 20th century. These include: Assimilation of the West, 1550-1821; Construction of a New Nation; and Strategies through Plastic Arts for a New Nation.
MUNAL Italian Architect Silvio Contry
The MUNAL National Art Museum installed since 1982 in the old building of the Secretary of Communications and Public Works, designed by Italian architect Silvio Contri, and completed in 1911.
This museum’s building is in front of the Palace of the School of Mining, with the Manuel Tolsá Plaza between both of them.
MUNAL National Museum of Art neoclassical building
The National Museum of Art, the style of which is eclectic but predominantly neoclassical, characterized by various decorative elements, including the ironwork and stonework ornaments. There are also paintings, crystals, doors and stucco-work designed and made by the artist Mariano Coppedé.
Valuable works of art of Colonial painters such as Juan Correa, Juan Francisco de Aguilera, Rafael Ximeno y Planes, Miguel Cabrera and Luis Lagarto, among others, is found here.
There are also paintings, sketches and sculptures of the first period of Independence of artists such as Pedro Patiño and José María Labastida, among others, as well as artists from the mid-19th century such as Juan Cordero, Casimiro Castro, Joaquín Ramírez, José María Velasco, Eugenio Landesio, Juan Bellido, Luis Coto, among others.
Artist of the twentieth century
Finally, there are works by artists that were active from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1950s including Saturnino Herrán, Ángel Zárraga, Germán Gedovius, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Leopoldo Méndez, Agustín Lazo, Diego Rivera, Julio Castellanos, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano.
This great collection of Mexican national art created starting with the pictorial collection of the National Institute of Fine Arts, the Academy of San Carlos, the Viceregal Picture Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art.
The MUNAL National Museum of Art holds workshops for artistic development, summer courses and concerts. It also includes an academic program to encourage the study of the works that form part of the permanent collection, through courses headed by recognized academics and various institutions.
Visit the MUNAL on Tacuba Street # 8, in the Historic Downtown of Mexico City.
Hours: 10:00am – 18:00 hr, with free access on Sundays. Visitor Guides are available.