On this journey of learning and discovery, we explore the history and expressions of Art in Mexico. In order to understand the vision and temperament of Diego and Frida, we will learn of History and Politics of Mexico, that is the only way to contextualize their art and lives. While Diego’s Art was overtly political, Frida’s was more personal, as we will see. The Mexican Muralism Movement will also be explored. If you are interested in Art, History, Culture, Muralism, Diego and Frida, this trip is for you! Join us to explore art in Mexico City!
Day 1: Sunday, Arrive Mexico City, Transfer to our Centrally Located Hotel and explore the Historic Center! (L, D)
You will be met at the MEX airport and transfer to our hotel to freshen up before heading out for a light lunch and our first impressions of Mexico City’s Historic Center! Arriving at the grand and vast Zocalo, we can see the great clash of cultures in the 16th Century, that forever changed the course of Mexico’s history. This is visually evidenced by seeing the Templo Mayor the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, which was discovered in the 1970s and is an ongoing active archaeological site, and the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, constructed in a medley of Baroque, Neoclassical, and Mexican churrigueresque architectural styles. Then we move to the National Palace to view Diego Rivera’s mural masterpiece The Epic of the Mexican People, where he depicted major events in Mexico’s history, and the indigenous cultures of Mexico. We will enjoy our welcome dinner at one of Mexico City’s beloved restaurants, Azul Historico, where Chef Ricardo Munoz creates delicious and traditional Mexican dishes! (L, D)
Day 2: Monday, Pre Hispanic Site of Teotihuacan, Free Afternoon (B, L)
Today we venture out to the northwest of the Mexico City Basin, to encounter the massive Prehispanic site of Teotihuacan, one of the most important centers of influence in all of Mesoamerica. Diego, Frida and their friend Leon Trotsky visited Teotihuacan upon his arrival and self imposed exile in Mexico. Here, we learn about past and present explorations and we too will explore the fascinating murals and monumental structures of this site. Included in this special visit with an onsite archeologist, we will tour the rarely visited Mural Museum to learn about mural iconography and techniques of the ancient civilizations of Mexico. Diego Rivera studied the Prehispanic fresco technique to apply to his own work. (B, L)
Day 3: Tuesday, Today we explore the Antiguo Colegio San Idelfonso, home to the first mural painted by Diego Rivera in the 1920’s. Then, we visit the Secretary of Education Murals (SEP) to learn of the initiatives to use art as a didactic tool to communicate to the Mexican people. We’ll enjoy Lunch at the wonderful and popular El Cardenal, a restaurant that Mexicans and travelers alike, flock to! After lunch, we’ll explore the fascinating Palace of Fine Arts to learn about the murals of the “Big Three” Muralists, where we can compare and contrast their ideologies, artistic expressions and techniques. (B, L)
Day 4: Wednesday, Today we explore the Chapultepec Park Region! We’ll begin with a morning History lesson by visiting the National History Museum, housed in the Chapultepec Castle, former residence of Emperor Maximilian. We will see numerous murals and other important paintings here, including the historically important “Casta Paintings” that were developed in an attempt to “order” and classify social groups, by naming them and identifying them pictorially. Criollo, Mestizo, Mulato among others were depicted. We explore more art at the fabulous Modern Art Museum, known for their outstanding exhibitions and curatorial strength. Crossing the majestic Reforma Avenue, we will visit the outstanding and recently renovated Rufino Tamayo Museum, housed in a building designed by Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon, one of Mexico’s great Modern and Contemporary architects. We will enjoy a wonderful lunch at the delightful on-site restaurant. Tonight, we can enjoy an Optional Ballet Folkorico de Mexico, Amalia Hernandez Performance, 7:30 p.m., at the Palace of Fine Arts. (B, L)
Day 5: Thursday, Today we travel to the South of Mexico City to visit the fascinating Frida Kahlo Museum (known as the “Blue House”). We can picture Frida in this space, as there were in fact, many photos taken of her surrounded by her beloved animals at this house, her family home. The house is located in one of the most charming neighborhoods in Mexico City, so we will take time to stroll in Coyoacan to see its charming square and experience its markets, much as Diego and Frida loved to do! Then, we have a great treat in store, as we travel to the Xochimilco neighborhood to pay a visit to the Dolores Olmedo Museum, home to the largest collections of Diego and Frida pieces. We will learn about Dolores Olmedo Patino, an entrepreneur and captain of industry, who later became a patron of the arts and of Diego Rivera. Strolling the former Hacienda grounds, we are surrounded by peacocks and some adorable “xolo” dogs (Mexican Hairless). To fully experience the Xochimilco ambiance we’ll enjoy a fun but also educational “trajinera” boat ride on the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco to learn of ancient agriculture developed by the Prehispanic people living in this region of the Mexico City Basin. The “chinampas” involved building up the lake bed, rich in nutrient “muck”, a perfect and clever solution to agriculture that is being revived today! Returning home, we make a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, UNAM Campus to see an integrated approach to Design in Architecture, Sculpture, Art, Space in Higher Education. (B, L)
Day 6: Friday, Today we dedicate 1/2 a day to the world renowned National Museum of Anthropology, where we will explore the ancient civilizations of Mexico, including the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Aztec and many others. We’ll study the Museum architecture as well, designed by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, one of Mexico’s extraordinary architects. (B)
Day 7: Saturday Once again we travel south, but this time we visit the surreal Anahuacalli Museum, designed by Diego Rivera to house his collection of Mesoamerican Art and Antiquities. From here, we will visit the colorful and festive Bazaar Sabado (Saturday Art Market) to see and perhaps buy wonderful Mexican Art and Craft. It is the place to be on Saturdays in Mexico City! A special lunch is in store, as we enjoy our “comida”, late lunch in the charming garden setting of the famed San Angel Inn. Just across the street are the Diego and Frida Studios, designed by their friend and architect/artist, Juan O’Gorman. Here we will see the spaces where Diego and Frida worked and lived: sometimes together and sometimes apart! (B, L)
Day 8: Sun. Return Flights Home (B) Sadly, today we say goodby to this most extraordinary city: Mexico City. We hope you will not be saying goodby though, but rather, “Hasta Pronto”! See you again soon!