WHAT IS THE ANAHUACALLI MUSEUM?

Over the course of a lifetime, Diego Rivera accumulated an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic figurines that he called “the idolage.” The painter came up with the idea of constructing a building to house these items: one that would become an inhabitable work of art in its own right.

In 1941, following his return from a trip to San Francisco, Rivera took on the construction of a project that sought to spark continuity between modern art and pre-Colombian aesthetics. The painter chose the rocky terrain of San Ángel that once surrounded the Xitle volcano, which he had purchased together with Frida Kahlo with the objective of founding a farm there. Rivera, eager to share his legacy with the people of Mexico, imagined the Anahuacalli as a unique work of architecture and a center for future creativity; a City of the Arts.

The eruption of the Xitle in the year 400 B.C. gave rise to a landscape of flowing lava that solidified into an ecosystem of desert plants, integrated with the architecture of the Anahuacalli as it was conceptualized by Diego: a sacred receptacle with a connection to the underworld.

Coatlicue seems to devour us as we cross the threshold. The four elements are represented by their respective gods in each corner of the building: for the earth, the corn goddess Chicomecóatl; for the air, Ehécatl, god of the wind; Huehuetéotl, god of fire, for that element; and for water, Tláloc, god of rain.

Nearly two thousand figurines representing Olmecs, Toltecs, Nahuas, Zapotecs, the people of Teotihuacan, and those of northeastern Mexico accompany us on a journey from the underworld to the sun. A broad, illuminated space on the first floor of the Museum exhibits sixteen sketches for a mural completed by Diego Rivera. The Anahuacalli terrace offers a privileged view of the Pedregal lava bed of and its harsh nature, both sources of inspiration to the painter.

Over the course of a lifetime, Diego Rivera accumulated an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic figurines that he called “the idolage.” The painter came up with the idea of constructing a building to house these items: one that would become an inhabitable work of art in its own right.

In 1941, following his return from a trip to San Francisco, Rivera took on the construction of a project that sought to spark continuity between modern art and pre-Colombian aesthetics. The painter chose the rocky terrain of San Ángel that once surrounded the Xitle volcano, which he had purchased together with Frida Kahlo with the objective of founding a farm there. Rivera, eager to share his legacy with the people of Mexico, imagined the Anahuacalli as a unique work of architecture and a center for future creativity; a City of the Arts.

The eruption of the Xitle in the year 400 B.C. gave rise to a landscape of flowing lava that solidified into an ecosystem of desert plants, integrated with the architecture of the Anahuacalli as it was conceptualized by Diego: a sacred receptacle with a connection to the underworld.

Coatlicue seems to devour us as we cross the threshold. The four elements are represented by their respective gods in each corner of the building: for the earth, the corn goddess Chicomecóatl; for the air, Ehécatl, god of the wind; Huehuetéotl, god of fire, for that element; and for water, Tláloc, god of rain.

Nearly two thousand figurines representing Olmecs, Toltecs, Nahuas, Zapotecs, the people of Teotihuacan, and those of northeastern Mexico accompany us on a journey from the underworld to the sun. A broad, illuminated space on the first floor of the Museum exhibits sixteen sketches for a mural completed by Diego Rivera. The Anahuacalli terrace offers a privileged view of the Pedregal lava bed of and its harsh nature, both sources of inspiration to the painter.