Museo Soumaya Plaza Carso, Mexico City
The Museo Soumaya is an art museum in Mexico City founded by Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim; its main venue is a futuristic building in Plaza Carso designed by architect Fernando Romero.
Museo Coumaya Plaza Carso, exterior view; photo Jay Sterling Austin
The Museu Soumaya was established by the Carlos Slim Foundation in 1994 with the aim to “collect, study, preserve, present and showcase art mainly from Mexico and Europe” (collecionar, investigar, conservar, difundir y exponer testimonios artisticos de Mexico y Europa principalmente). Named after Slim’s wife, Soumaya Domit, the museum originally opened in a 16th-century watermill building in Mexico City’s Plaza Loreto. In 2011, the museum’s main permanent exhibition and collection moved to a new iconic building on Plaza Carso.
The Plaza Carso building
Located in the Nuevo Polanco neighborhood, the new 16,000-square-meter / 172,200-square-foot home of the Museo Soumaya was designed by Fernando Romero, an architect renowned for his fluid-shaped designs inspired by hyperbolic geometry and tectonics.
The shape of the museum originates from the rotation of a trapezoidal contour which generates a dynamic double-ruled surface. This surface was then clad with 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles, of 49 different types, which envelope a complex structural steel frame consisting of 28 elliptic columns connected by seven tubular rings.
On nine floors, two of which housed in a concrete podium, the 46-meter / 150-foot high building contains exhibition spaces, storage areas, offices, a bookshop, a library, a cafe-restaurant, and a 320-seat auditorium.
All public spaces are connected by a sequence of spiral ramps which extends from the entrance lobby up to a large daylight-filled open floor gallery on the top level.
Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterprise, exterior views; photos by Omar Bárcena (top) and Raul Soria.
Art collection and permanent exhibition
The 70,000-piece collection of the museum is divided into thematic areas dedicated to European old masters, Auguste Rodin and European sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries, Impressionism and avant-garde art, Mesoamerican art, 19th century Mexican portrait painting, Mexican art of the 20th century, Miniatures, Jewelry and coins, Applied arts, and photography.
The collection include works by notable artists including Sandro Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Andrea del Sarto, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Tintoretto, Veronese, Artemisia Gentileschi, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, El Greco, Francisco de Zurbarán, Peter Brueghel the Younger, Peter Paul Rubens, Antony van Dyck, Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh, Gibran Kahlil Gibran, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, Juan Soriano, and Francisco Toledo, among others.
The collection of works by Auguste Rodin, comprising about 100 pieces, is regarded as one of the world’s largest and most important.
Artworks from the Carlos Slim Foundation collection are displayed on a rotational basis in six thematic galleries. The main lobby accommodates one of The Thinker sculptures by Auguste Rodin, a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà, the Río Juchitán mural by Diego de Rivera, and the paintings El Día y la Noche and Naturaleza Muerta by Rufino Tamano, thus summarizing the mix of Mexican and European art which characterizes the collection.
The program of activities and events of the Museo Soumaya features special exhibitions, conferences, guided tours, educational activities, and special events.
Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, 1800-1801, Museo Soumaya; photo by Adam Weisman
The gallery on the top floor of the Museo Soumaya; photos by Adam Weisman
Museo Soumaya, detail of the aluminum tiles cladding; photo Rod Waddington.
Museo Soumaya, FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterprise, floor plans, and section
Museo Soumaya, the structural steel frame under construction; photo Carlos Alcocer Sola.
Museo Soumaya, the entrance lobby; photo by Adam Weisman.
Cover image by Rod Waddington.
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copyright Inexhibit 2020 - ISSN: 2283-5474