Soumaya Museum CDMX
The Soumaya Museum houses a collection that displays over thirty centuries of universal culture and history; it is one of the newest additions to the urban landscape of Mexico City.
An emblematic and unmistakable building in the northeastern part of Mexico City, in Plaza Carso, close to the fashionable Polanco neighborhood.
About the Soumaya Museum
This museum opened in 2011 and intended as a private museum to hold the art collection of the Carlos Slim Foundation. The museum named after Mr. Slim’s late wife, Soumaya, who passed away in 1999. She inspired him to build the Soumaya Museum, designed and built to honor artists and creativity; so the Mexican people as well as international visitors could get to know the most important works of art from around the world, and particularly those from Mexico.
Soumaya Museum, a crooked silver cube
The building designed by architect Fernando Romero; with engineering advice from Ove Arup and architect Frank Gehry; was from the start intended to become an urban icon of Mexico City. Its construction overcame important technical and aesthetic challenges; the result is a six-story cube-shaped structure that starts twisting upon itself from the base up.
The windowless, sculptural building has no supporting columns and a semitransparent roof. Its facades covered by hexagonal mirror-like aluminum plates; that don’t meet each other and seem, from a distance, to float.
There is only one entrance way to the building. It has an elevator to allow you to comfortably begin your tour from the starting point of your choosing. There is also an exposed spiraled platform or walkway around the inside of the walls; providing another way to reach whichever story holds the collections you wish to see.
Soumaya Museum Collections
You should start your tour on the sixth floor of the museum; in the “Julián and Linda Slim Gallery”. There you will find the fabulous collection The Age of Rodin, containing pieces by Auguste Rodin and; Camille Claudel, his love interest, model and muse for many years. It is the most important Rodin private collection in the world, and the biggest one outside of France.
Room 5. Temporary Exhibits: Venice Collection, Soumaya Museum
This room has works by Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto; who initiated the Italian branch of the vedutisti (from the Italian for “view”); a pictorial genre focused on detailed and often large representations of urban views and landscapes of Venice.
In the eighteenth century Canaletto’s followers, such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Zanin, Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, Francesco Guardi and his brother Giacomo Guardi, rendered in meticulous detail the different architectural styles of the buildings surrounding Venice’s Grand Canal.
Prints by the German engraver Martin Engelbrecht, examples of the beginning of the verduta pictorial genre, can also be seen.
The Veneto region of Italy, the capital of which is Venice, also inspired the impressionist painters Henry Woods and Pierre Vignal; as well as avant-garde artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Jean Dufy and the surrealist Salvador Dali.
Room 4. Permanent Exhibit: “Impressionism and the Avant-garde movements”.
This collection made up of the works of painters whose art triggered a stylistic change in painting from works characterized by details; to those characterized by the portrayal of the effects of light. This collection has works by Millet, Camille and Courbet,as well as works of the Impressionists Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Degas, and; late-nineteenth-century portraits and landscapes by Vincent van Gogh and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.
There are also paintings from the period that followed, including works by Paul Signac and Maximilien Luce, Post-Impressionists like Gustave Loiseau and Hughes-Claude Pissarro, and; Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”) — Fauvism was the first twentieth-century movement in modern art — such as Georges Rouault, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck. This collection also includes works by Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico and surrealists such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Joan Miró.
In accordance with that time, nineteenth-century female artists such as Marie Laurencin, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzáles, Berthe Morisot and Virginie Demon-Breton; produced works depicting domestic scenes of women at home and in gardens.
Room 3. Permanent Collection: European Old Masters and Old Masters of New Spain
European Old Masters
This collection includes works of the Spanish, Italian, German, Flemish and French schools from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Italian Painting School
Artists featured here include Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (Sandro Botticelli), Pseudo-Pier Francesco Fiorentino, Bernardino di Beto, known as Pinturicchio, Filippino Lippi, members of Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop, Bernardino Luini, Giorgio Vasari, Giulo Pippi, Aurelio Luini, Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (Il Sodoma), Andrea del Sarto, Michele Tosini – also known as Michele di Rodolfo and Michele del Ghirlandaio –Tintoretto (born Jacopo Robusti) Tiziano Vecellio, Paolo Caliari, known as Veronese, Artemisia Gentileschi, Francesco Bassano the Younger, Giacomo and his brother Francesco Guardi.
Spanish Painting School
Works by Juan de Flandes, who worked in the court of Queen Isabella of Castile and; Leon, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco), Jusepe de Ribera (Lo Spagnoletto), Alonso Sánchez Coello, Jan Kraeck, Francisco Zurbarán, Bernardo Llorente Germán, and Francisco Bayeu y Subías are all on display here.
Flemish Painting School
Featured here are pieces by Lucas Gassel, Marten de Vos, Herri met de Bles, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Pieter Baltens, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, Jacob Marrell, and Jan Wyck, among others.
German and French Painting Schools
From the German school are paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, and Daniel Gran.
On show from the French school are works by artists such as Trophime Bigot, Claude-Joseph Vernet and his workshop, Claude Michel, known as Clodion, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and Gustave Doré.
Old Masters of New Spain
Works of Miguel Cabrera, Juan Correa, Nicolás Enríquez, José de Páez and Cristóbal de Villalpando; show the cultural synthesis inherited by independent Mexico.
Mexican Portraiture of the Nineteenth Century
Nineteenth-century painters from the San Carlos Academy such as Pelegrín Clave, Felipe Santiago Gutiérrez and Juan Cordero are presented here, as well as regional artists such as José María Estrada and the popular portraitist Hermenegildo Bustos. There are also works of the Muerte Niña genre, portraying children who died as infants, “little angels.”
Landscape of Independent Mexico
Paintings by European artists such as Daniel Thomas Egerton (English), Conrad Wise Chapman (American), Jean-Baptiste Louis (French), Baron Gros (French) and Johann Moritz Rugendas (German); well-informed artists who depicted Mexico’s landscape during their travels there between 1825 and1860. Painters from the Mexican school who influenced landscape artists, such as Eugenio Landesio, Luis Coto y Maldonado and, of course, José María Velasco, are also on view.
Twentieth-Century Mexican Art
The influences of the European avant-garde and post-revolutionary attitudes within Mexican society are clear in works by Gerardo Murillo, a landscape and volcano painter who signed his pieces Dr. Atl, and in the work of the muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and
David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The museum also exhibits two murals by Rufino Tamayo and a collection of self-portraits by Mexican artists.
Works by José Luis Cuevas, Günther Gerzso, José García Ocejo and Juan Soriano represent generation of La Ruptura (The Breaking); which broke with muralist and post- revolutionary painting in favor of a more personal style of painting
There are also paintings by Oaxaca-based artists such as Sergio Hernández and Francisco Toledo.
Room 2. Permanent Collection: Asia in Ivories.
Works in ivory and wood, textiles, paintings and pieces of pearl shell inlay represent an Asian cultural legacy. Ivory pieces carved by artisans who were followers of Confucius depict Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism in a personal pursuit of perfection.
Mythological characters capable of destroying evil, wise men, rulers, monks, damsels, nayikas or celestial dancers, legendary and symbolic animals such as dragons, elephants, tortoises, Foo dogs (from the Chinese word for Buddha) are also depicted.
Christian-themed imagery used with perfection by Asian masters is on display in Christ figures decorated with pigments and blood; renderings of the Virgin Mary and the Buddha of Compassion (Guān Yïn), and depictions of the Christian martyrs of Japan.
Chinoiseries, which are European versions or imitations of Chinese and East-Asian traditional art; particularly furniture, screens, tiles, textiles and gardens, are also part of this collection
Room 1. Permanent Collection. Of Gold and Silver: Decorative Arts
The ornamental and ceremonial pieces in this room show remarkable workmanship. Pieces made of precious metals are a mix of functionality and art. Also there are sumptuary objects used for ceremonial, traditional and everyday use: ivories, miniatures, religious furnishings, textiles, jewelry, medallions, crystals, spoons, iron-work, clocks, silver, amalgams, models and coconut-shell objects.
Maximilian and Charlotte Habsburg
There are spaces in the museum devoted to Emperor Maximilian and Charlotte Habsburg, as well as to former President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz and to original Mexican banknotes and coins from this period.
Coins, medals and banknotes.
Also in the Decorative Arts Room are civil and military merit medals from the Second Mexican Empire and from the Juarista Republic during the French intervention period. On display here are tokens which were the first coined in Mexico as well as the on the American continent. This coin collection includes the so-called “juanitas”, and those depicting a scale called “Porfirianas”, as well as the first coins from 1905 reading “United States of Mexico”.
Soumaya Museum Lobby
The Gates of Hell
Here you can find Rodin’s impressive The Gates of Hell, one of the eight copies in the world, the original being displayed at the Orsay Museum in Paris. Rodin began this sculpture in 1880, but, as he kept continuously adding changes to it until the end of his life, The Gates of Hell wasn’t casted until after the artist’s death in 1917.
Rodin included in The Gates of Hell, in different sizes, some of his most well-known figures, such as The Thinker, The Kiss and The Three Shades, depicted in Dante Alighieri’s famous epic poem, The Divine Comedy”. In Alighieri’s work, The Three Shades, approaching The Gates of Hell, told to “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Gibran Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese artist and well-known writer of the late nineteenth century, also known as the poet of the exile, who wrote the book entitled The Prophet.
This section of the museum includes objects, letters, manuscripts from his books The Prophet and The Crazy Man, annotated editions, videos, photographs, oil paintings and drawings, including self-portraits and a painting about the ages of the women he painted, all from his personal archives.
Tamayo, Rivera, Siqueiros….
Museo Soumaya en Plaza CARSO
Lago Zúrich 245, edificio Museo Soumaya, Colonia Ampliación Granada,
C.P. 11529, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo.
Horario: todos los días de 10:30 a 18:30 h
T. 1103 9800 | Entrada gratis.