Viceroy Palace in Mexico

1676 - 1700

Museo de América

Museo de América
Madrid, Spain

Life in the viceroyalty of New Spain was internally ruled from the buildings surrounding the central square of Mexico City: the Viceroy’s Palace, the Town Hall, the Mint, the University and the Cathedral. In addition to being the seat for the Viceroy, the monarch’s “alter ego”, the palace had many official functions. In fact, it was the nerve centre of viceroyalty power. Its depiction in the five panels on the right of this screen correspond to the general characteristics of the building before the riots of 1692, when the building was burnt down. In front of its facade was the city’s most important market, which would later be called El Parián, in remembrance of its namesake in Manila, from whence came many of the goods sold. All kind of products and tools were sold on its stalls, as well as the numerous provisions which the surrounding area supplied to the city. In the remaining three panels, there is an incomplete view of the Alameda Central in the same city. Through this piece, a vision of viceroyalty society is presented, along with the roles performed by its different members. Thus, the ruling class is represented by Spaniards and creoles who move within the official and leisure worlds, going to the palace or going for a walk along the Alameda, while mestizos, mulattoes and the indigenous population mainly work as servants and in the market.


  • Title: Viceroy Palace in Mexico
  • Date: 1676 - 1700
  • Provenance: Mexico
  • External Link: CERES
  • Photographer: Joaquín Otero Úbeda
  • Cultural context: Viceroyalty of New Spain

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