Los mexicanos pintados por sí mismos, 1853-1855 (Mexicans Painted by Themselves) and México y sus alrededores. Colección de monumentos, trajes y paisajes, 1855-1856 (Mexico and its Environs, a Collection of Monuments, Costumes and Landscapes) -the publication in which the present two prints appeared among some thirty views- are the most important albums of their period. Their illustrations, produced via a serial lithographic printing process, adorned the walls of many subscribers, given that each print and its accompanying description was not only delivered to subscribers in album form, but also sold loose-leaf. These two volumes complement each other, with the first featuring typical characters and trades and the second illustrating the environments in which the people lived and worked and depicting the most attractive and frequented parts of the city and the surrounding countryside. The engravings in México y sus alrededores were made by the Decaen lithography company and published by Ignacio Cumplido. Outstanding among the artists hired to do this sort of drawing was Casimiro Castro, who went up in a hot-air balloon in order to sketch views of the city as seen from above. The imposing panoramic depiction of the Villa de Guadalupe is a magnificent rendering of the said religious center, showing the square and the elevations of the sanctuary´s facades, towers and domes, flanked by the houses -all resembling each other- of the local village. Castro gives us a dizzying bird's-eye view of the area, masterfully linking the buildings and the hilly terrain surrounding them to form a harmonious whole, and depicting the tiny figures of a group of worshippers who are celebrating the anniversary of the dark skinned Virgins appearances. Indeed, he outdid himself in his painstakingly detailed depiction of this commemorative event and of the religious devotion shown by those attending. Another splendid print from this album is the one that depicts Guardiola Square, in San Francisco de los Plateros Street, where it opens onto San Juan de Letrán Avenue. This spot, where the Latin American Tower now stands, is one whose constantly changing appearance bears witness to the many changes that the most important areas of the city have undergone. Likewise, with his keen eye, Castro succeeds in portraying the various sectors of XlXth-century society, capturing the gestures, demeanors and features of his subjects as they mingle with each other amid the historic buildings, and depicting the massive, dilapidated walls of the Franciscan Convent on the right and, in the background, on the far side of the square, the "House of Tiles", with its talavera tiles. The MUNAL collection includes a dozen prints from México y sus alrededores, Colección de monumentos, trajes y paisajes, which were donated by the MUNAL Trust in 1992.