Arriving in México in January of 1846, the Spaniard, Manuel Vilar, was in charge, together with his countryman, Pelegrín Clavé, of restructuring the teaching at the San Carlos Academy. The syllabus implemented by him required that students undertake a rigorous study of drawing before being allowed to do sculpture, and it was at his initiative that the institution's collection of copies was enriched. One of the most outstanding pieces executed by Vilar in México is that which depicts Tlahuicole, a pre-Hispanic Tlaxcaltecan general who opted to die in combat rather than shame himself by accepting Moctezuma's offer to free him, asking to be allowed to take part in the sacrificial fight to the death, a favor that was granted to him. Apparently the famous teacher based his depiction of the fabled enemy of the Aztecs -whom he idealizes by endowing him with heroic stature and rippling muscles— on the notes of Francisco Xavier Clavijero. Though the resemblance to classical European sculptures such as the Laocoon and the Apollo Belvedere is evident, above all in the figures exaggerated strength and muscularity, the American Indian facial features diverge greatly from the Caucasian ideal. Some researchers claim that this work is a controversial one, given that Vilar's warlike subject might well be alluding to the Indian uprisings then occurring in northern México. However, the Sculptor actually seems to place more stress on the myth of Hercules and on the depiction of Tlahuicole as a paradigm of freedom, honor and duty. This statue stood in the San Carlos Academy before becoming part of the collection of the National San Carlos Museum. It was transferred to the MUNAL in 1982 .