When we talk about the Palacio de Bellas Artes we should first talk about the Teatro Nacional, that during the 19th century was remodeled with the goal of cultural growth of the city, linked to the centennial festivals of Mexican Independence. It was then that the Palacio was constructed and now it’s a complete icon of the city.
The construction of Bellas Artes was completed by Italian Architect Adamo Boari, a curious thing as during the time of General Porfirio Díaz, most of the city was modeled after popular French styles, though the Italian architect’s style was equally French. As part of the technique in style at the time, art nouveau, steel and concrete were used in the building’s skeleton, so it could be later dressed in marble.
The construction was supposed to have been completed within four years, but due to the natural sinking of the earth, the project was delayed. Then came the Mexican Revolution, which put an indefinite halt to the project.
The work was finally reinstated in 1928 under architect Fernando Mariscal who substituted the art nouveau style for art deco, with the use of materials like onyx and marble.
In 1932, the former secretary of finance Alberto J. Pani initiated the completion of the project and therefore transformed the space into a venue dedicated to visual and plastic arts. It was then named the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
The sculptures located in front of the building were designed by Catalonian sculptor Agustín Querol; and were originally located in the main hall. When work on the building was suspended, the Pegasus sculptures were transferred to the Palacio Nacional between 1921-1928. When the project was finally completed under Ignacio Mariscal, a design error was detected that prevented the pieces from being placed in their original spot, so they remained outside.
The Palace is famous not only for its architecture, but for its collection which houses 17 murals by Mexican artists which were created between 1928-1963. Standout murals include El hombre controlador del universo (1934) and Carnaval de la vida mexicana (1936) by Diego Rivera; La Katharsis (1934) by José Clemente Orozco; La nueva democracia (1944) and Tormento de Cuauhtémoc (1951) by David Alfaro Siquieros; La piedad en el desierto (1942) by de Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, among others.
The Palacio also is home to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes which consists of three rooms; Manuel M. Ponce, Sala Adamo Aboari and the principle room, the latter of which is an excellent place to enjoy operas, chamber music and theater.