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Museo Soumaya, Mexico City (In Pictures)

As some of you may now know from my previous post, I recently spent a few days in Mexico City, Mexico - a very colorful and bustling city. And as some of you may know from several previous posts, I never give up an opportunity to visit an art museum - and Mexico City has got quite a few. So in narrowing down my choices over the five days of my stay, I was recommended by a friend to make time to visit Museo Soumaya in Mexico City - the most visited art museum in Mexico.

The museum was made possible by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helú, known as the "Warren Buffett of Mexico" and who was ranked as the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013 (currently #4 on Forbes list of billionaires with a net worth estimated at $65 billion). His Fundación Carlos Slim Helú, which he established in 1986, sponsors the museum and is named after his late wife of 33 years, Soumaya Domit, who passed away in 1999 of kidney failure.

Museo Soumaya is made up of two parts, Plaza Loreto, the original (and smaller) building of the Museo Soumaya which opened in 1994 and houses Mexican and European art (alas, I didn't have the time to visit this plaza) and Plaza Carso, the one the people come to see, which opened in 2011 - a silvery asymmetric structure rising 46 meters high and clad in more than 16,000 hexagonal aluminum plates.

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

Plaza Carso was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero (who just happens to be married to one of Carlos Slim's daughters) and constructed at a cost of approximately $70 million. The Plaza was inaugurated on 29 March 2011 by then Mexican President Felipe Calderón. The building’s avant-garde design leaves only the main entrance as the only visible opening. The panels do not rest on the ground or touch one another, creating the impression that they are floating around the building. The top floor of the building is semitransparent so that it is illuminated by sunlight during the daytime and its architectural style has been compared to that of the Selfridges Building in Birmingham, England and that of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

It has over 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art (many of the pieces from Slim's personal collection) including sculptures from Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th and 20th century Mexican art and an extensive repertoire of works by European old and modern western art masters, including the largest collection of casts of sculptures by Auguste Rodin outside of France and the largest Salvador Dalí collection in Latin America.

It took all of about two hours for Mrs. Perez and I to peruse the offerings of all six floors via the Plaza's exposed spiral ramp and, most importantly, it was well worth the trip (admission is also free). As usual, I was not without my Panasonic GH2 and a few good lenses (the museum allows for non-flash photography).

Enjoy the photographs...

Museo Soumaya

Our approach to the main entrance of the museum...

The Thinker

"El pensador" (The Thinker) by Auguste Rodin is the centerpiece of the museum's spacious lobby...

Museo Soumaya

"La Piedad" by Miguel Ángel Buonarroti

Museo Soumaya

Amazing Chinese Chess Set carved out of ivory, c 1930-1950

Museo Soumaya

Montandon Frères 18K ladies watch, made exclusively for Mexico, c 1920

Museo Soumaya

Russian sugar spoon with monkey handle, first quarter of the 20th century

Museo Soumaya

"Eve Being Born from Adam's Rib" from Mexico's novo-Hispanic Baroque era, 18th century

The museum has an exposed spiral ramp that winds its way up (and down) through all the exhibits...

Museo Soumaya

Mrs. Perez enjoying "El abrazo" by Mexican painter Jorge González Camarena, c 1980

Museo Soumaya

I wasn't the only one snapping pictures...

Museo Soumaya

"Retrato de Gabriela Amescua de Cabrera" by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo, 1949

Museo Soumaya

"Regreso del campo" (The Return from the Field) by Hungarian painter József Koszta, c 1940

Museo Soumaya

Mrs. Perez enjoying "La Dolorosa" (The Virgin of Sorrows) by Mexican painter Cristóbal de Villalpando, c 1680

Auguste Rodin's "The Martyr", 1899, welcomes visitors to the museum's top floor...

"Laocoonte y sus hijos" (Laocoon and his Sons), bronze reproduction of the original marble sculpture, one of the most famous ancient sculptures ever since it was excavated in Rome in 1506

Salvador Dalí

"Ángel triunfante", 1976, Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí

"Venus de Milo with Drawers", 1964 by Salvador Dalí

Auguste Rodin

"Las tres sombras" (The Three Shades) by Auguste Rodin, 1880

Museo Soumaya

Me and Mrs. Perez, top floor, our hunger for art sated...

So if you happen to find yourself in Mexico City with an appetite for art and Mexican culture, Museo Soumaya won't leave you hungry...

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