From Aztec to Inca and to Maya and many other civilisations that Mexico has been cradle to over thousands of years, have all left behind a rich legacy and some of this did survive centuries of pillage by European, especially Spanish inquisitors. Today, most of these are under protection and available for public viewing at various museums across Mexico, and indeed in leading museums around the world.
India Outbound presents a list of the Top Five museums that the visitors to the country must now miss as these museums are dedicated to showcasing the splendor of its ancient and colonial history as well as contemporary art and the works of globally-renowned Mexican artists, such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
National Museum of Anthropology and History (Mexico City)
Located in the national capital, Mexico City, the National Museum of Anthropology and History is said to be the most significant museum in Mexico due to the rich collection of the country’s archeological and ethnographic artefacts. The collection in the museum is spread across as many as 22 exhibition halls where the visitors can get to see the diverse elements of the heritage of native peoples of Mexico with an extensive sample of their traditions, artistic and religious expressions, as well as their great ancestral knowledge that is a heritage of humanity.
The main hall is dedicated to Aztec culture and features priceless archeological pieces that show the splendour of this civilisation. Some of the most notable elements on display here include the Piedra del Sol or Aztec Calendar, as well as other giant monoliths with which the Aztecs worshipped their gods. In addition, the visitors can also see the works in stone dedicated to Tláloc (god of rain), Ehécatl (god of wind), and Coatlicue (mother of all gods), among many others.
Museo Amparo (Puebla)
Another museum that displays primarily the cultural heritage of the ancient Mexican civilisation is the Museo Amparo, that is located about 150 km from Mexico in downtown Puebla. This museum also has some displays of the Spanish colonial art which had specially influenced the city and neighbouring areas of Puebla.
Housed in a building that was constructed in 1538 as the first hospital in Puebla, the museum runs a permanent display of national and international arts and also has several temporary exhibitions. It also organises several programmes of academic, artistic, and educational activities for the whole family. The exhibitions here focus on topics such as archeology, history, contemporary art, architecture, and design.
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Museo Frida Kahlo (Mexico City)
Also known as La Casa Azul (The Blue House), this museum was the home of the best known modern Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, that she later shared with her artist husband Diego Rivera. The interior and gardens of the place are personal objects and paintings of the artist couple. It also boasts of a diverse collection of popular Mexican art, as well as pre-Columbian sculptures, photographs, books, and furniture that Frida used for the creation of her most important works.
In the “Artist’s Room,” is the famous bed where Frida slept or almost lived in as she recovered from a bad accident that had her bed-ridden for nine months. The area where the artists worked or the ‘Studio’ is the easel that Nelson Rockefeller gave to Frida, as well as the crutches, corsets, and medicines that show the painter’s painful recovery.
The museum also has on display several works of Frida’s popular culture art including traditional toys, dresses, and jewelry. In the kitchen of the house or ‘La Cocina’, designed in the Mexican style, visitors can learn more about the daily life of Frida Kahlo, the emblem of Mexico in the world.
Museo Casa Diego Rivera (Guanajuato)
It is not just Frida whose house has been converted to a museum. Guanajuato, the house of Frida’s husband and fellow artist Deigo Rivera, has also become a museum. The house where he was born today displays a fine collection of Diego’s works. In the “Nudes and Drawings” room, there is a self-portrait, nudes of Frida Kahlo and Dolores Olmedo, another great Mexican artist. It also has several classic works by Rivera such as La Maestra Rural, Zapata, and El Niño en Rojo.
In the room “Paricutín,” a series of watercolours and inks that Rivera made during the eruption of the Paricutín volcano, in the state of Michoacán, is permanently exposed. However, one of the most important works exhibited is Dream of a Sunday Afternoon at the Alameda, whose original is located in Mexico City. To all this, the place features many photographs of the artist Frida Kahlo.
Rafael Coronel Museum (Zacatecas)
Located in the city of Zacatecas, about 600 km north of capital Mexico City that can be covered in flight of about 90 minutes, an hour and a half from Mexico City by plane, this museum is located in the former Convent of San Francisco (16th century), from where the missions that colonised and evangelised northern Mexico came out, this museum was created in honour of the painter Rafael Coronel and contains the most important works of the artist.
It has a collection of more than 16,000 pieces including masks, drawings, pots, terracottas, pre-Hispanic objects, puppets, paintings, crafts, musical instruments, and colonial furniture. It also features works by Diego Rivera, among which is the study of the self-portrait of Diego Niño, for the mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Central Alameda.
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