The murals of Guadalajara
What perhaps struck me most from our week in Guadalajara – yes, even more than the pozole – were the murals! Oh, the murals!! Jose Clemente Orozco was one of Mexico’s most famous muralists who painted politically charged pieces in several cities, including Guadalajara. One of our “must dos” while in Guadalajara was to visit and admire his work in two prominent locations: the Governmental Palace and Hospicio Cabañas.
Our first visit was to Hospicio Cabañas, which is a complex built in the 1790s to serve as a hospital, orphanage, and home for the elderly. It is an impressive complex in and of itself and has both permanent and rotating exhibits within its walls. The most impressive feature though, are the series of frescoes on large walls and curved ceilings. The centerpiece is his piece Man on Fire, painted into the dome. As we toured the muraled chambers of the building, we had someone explain to us how he was a master of tricking the eye through different perspectives and was a master of geometry and mathematics. From different vantage points, the same mural can look quite a bit different. What a beautiful place to spend a bit of time!
From there, the “mural tour” led us Jalisco’s Governmental Palace. Here Orozco has two impressive murals, one in the main stairway and the other on the ceiling of the senate chambers. The fresco within the stairwell is of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a leader from Mexico’s Independence. No photo can do it justice as it fills up the space in a way that is hard to describe. His piece within the senate chambers depicts one of his favorite themes or topics: human suffering and social injustice.
Both of these locations are easy to visit when in Guadalajara. Hospicio Cabañas is only 40 pesos admission (free day on Tuesday) and has a lot to see outside the murals. I went twice! 🙂 The Governmental Palace is free and also has 2 small museums that can be visited outside of the murals, although the murals are the real gem in this building.