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Mexican Landscapes

Yesterday, I went to the National Museum of San Carlos in downtown Mexico City.  The museum is devoted primarily to European art, especially the Old Masters.  It is located in the Palace of the Count of Buenavista which was built at the of 18th century by the famous architect / sculptor Manuel Tolsá.  The Spanish-born Tolsá came to Mexico in 1790 as the director of the newly established San Carlos Academy of Art.  He changed the face of Mexico City by designing many buildings in the city in the neo-classical style that was replacing the baroque.

The Palace of the Count of Buenavista was one of his most important projects, and it is noteworthy for its distinctive circular courtyard.

I had visited the San Carlos Museum several years ago, but I returned to see a special exhibit of Mexican landscapes.  The exhibit was done in collaboration with SURA, a financial services company that has a large collection of Latin American art.

The exhibition begins with landscapes painted by European artists who visited Mexico.  The writings of the celebrated German geographer Alexander von Humboldt about his journey to Mexico inspired artists to explore Mexico and represent its landscape in a realistic manner.

Valley of Mexico”

by Johann Moritz Rugendas (German)


“Landscape with the Peak of Orizaba”

by Johann Moritz Rugendas


“The Snow-Covered Peak of Iztaccíhuatl”

by August Löhr (Austrian)

“The Canal of La Viga”

by Paul Fischer (German)


(La Viga was one of many canals which existed in Mexico City up until the 20th century.)

The next group of paintings are works by European landscape artists who were to influence painters in Mexico.  Among them was the Italian painter Eugenio Landesio.

“The Apennines and Sub-Apennines”

by Eugenio Landesio


Landesio took a job at the Academy of San Carlos, and was the teacher of the man who was to become one of Mexico’s greatest landscape artists, José María Velasco.  Velasco is one of my favorite Mexican painters.  Unfortunately, this exhibit included only a couple of small Velasco paintings.

“Landscape of Tlalnepantla”

by José María Velasco


(Tlalnepantla is now a densely populated suburb of Mexico Ctiy.)

Landscapes by other Mexico painters…

“Mexico Landscape, Tláhuac”

by Germán Gedovius


(Tláhuac is another area that has been absorbed into Mexico City’s urban sprawl.)

“Landscape with Iztaccíhuatl”

by Germán Gedovius


”El Peñón”

by Guilermo Gómez Mayorga



by Eduardo Morales van der Eiden


(The pyramids of Teotihaucan are shown in the painting.)


by Joaquín Clausell


(Yet another once bucolic area that was absorbed into Mexico City.)

“The Tethered Donkey”

by Rosario Cabrera


“Calvario de Oaxaca”

by Rufino Tamayo



by Fermín Revueltas


(This reflection of a changing Mexico City shows an electric substation which powered the new electric trolley cars.)

There were a number of paintings by Gerardo Murillo, an eccentric artist who went by the name of “Dr. Atl”.  “Dr. Atl” was obsessed with painting volcanoes.

 “The Volcano Popocatépetl”

by Dr. Atl


“Rays of the Sun”

by Dr. Atl


“Volcanoes and Horizons”

by Dr. Atl


“The Volcano Paricutín”

by Dr. Atl


(The eruption of a brand-new volcano, Paricutin, which emerged in the middle of a cornfield in 1943 and which grew to mountain of more than 1300 feet, was the subject of many paintings by the artist.)

There is more to come from the National Museum of San Carlos.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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