Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico

Cultivating art and culture in Mexico



Documenting the Palacio de Bellas Artes by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

CyArk documented the Palacio de Bellas Artes in October 2018 in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) and the Agenda Digital de Cultura office of the Secretaria de Cultura. The focus of the expedition was to document the monument's exterior surfaces as well as the main theatre and stage within the building. CyArk used a combination of laser scanning with a FARO X330 and terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry completed with a Nikon D810 and Phantom 4 Pro drone. Access to the roof of the monument was provided to CyArk staff as the chief architect of the Palacio wanted accurate records of the utility ducting that surrounds the structure. Since the monument is highly trafficked, CyArk took advantage of a planned closure of the monument to document the gardens and front facade.

Palacio de Bellas Artes by CyArkCyArk

Introducing the Palace of Fine Arts

Known as the greatest house of culture in Mexico, the Palacio de Bellas Artes was built upon the site of the first National Theatre, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. Issues related to the soft subsoil as well as political unrest during the Mexican Revolution required several delays and construction was not complete until 1934. The exterior of the building is designed primarily in the Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles while the interior is predominantly Art Deco. Both the interior and exterior of the building feature a variety of architectural elements drawn from Mexican history and culture. The building is also home to several important murals created by famous Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros. One of the most iconic monuments in Mexico City, the building has and continues to host some of the most noteworthy performances and exhibitions.

Documenting the Palacio de Bellas Artes by CyArkCyArk

The theater in Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts (2018) by CyArkCyArk

Stained Glass Stage Curtain

The Sala Principal, or main stage, within the Cathedral features a one-of-a-kind stage curtain made by Tiffany’s in New York and a decorated stained glass ceiling. The transparent ceiling above the seats depict Apollo, surrounded by the nine muses and was created by the Hungarian artist Géza Maróti. Weighing over twenty-four tons, the stage curtain is composed of over a million pieces of stained glass. The mosaic curtain depicts the two volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl that overlook the valley of Mexico with significant flora and fauna of Mexico. The volcanoes also have mythological importance. 

Drawing of Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts stage curtain (2018) by CyArkCyArk

Composed of over 2 million of pieces of crystal and weighing over 24 tons the mosaic stage curtain is a marvel.

The curtain depicts the flora of Mexico as well as the two legendary snow-capped volcanoes Ixtaccihuatl and Popocatepetl which dominate the Mexico city skyline.

Palacio de Bellas Artes South Facade elevation ortho by CyArkCyArk

Orthographic elevation of the front facade of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The Palacio is topped with the iconic eagle eating a snake featured on the Mexican flag.

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the generous support of Iron Mountain and the following partners:

Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes

Agenda Digital de Cultura

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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