Art and architecture in the Soumaya Museum
With 132 museums to date, Mexico City has found room for yet another one. Two months ago, Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, inaugurated the Museo Soumaya in Polanco, an enormous building housing his personal collection of art from around the world. Unlike any other building in the city, the Soumaya Museum rises up like a massive, twisted tin can, covered in 16,000 shiny hexagons, and leaves no-one indifferent. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit it's bold and spectacular.
The Soumaya Museum is named after Carlos Slim's late wife
An unusual design by the architect Fernando Romero
Inside, space and light merge together and provide a tasteful setting for Sr. Slim's 16 collections of European and Latin American art, some 66,000 pieces. These include old coins and banknotes, paintings, sculptures, murals and pre-Hispanic figures. Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Picasso, Miró, José Clemente Orozco and Siqueiros all share the space together.
Mosaic by Diego Rivera - "Bath in the River", 1956
Painting by Renoir - "House of Collette in Cagnes", 1912
Mural by Siqueiros - "The Land, like the Water and the Industry, belong to us", 1959
Standing at the base of the building, you look up at the silver curves towering over you and wonder what it's going to be like inside. (Tip: Don't forget to take your sunglasses as the sun's rays glinting off the mirror-like exterior can leave you blinded.) A flight of concrete steps lead up to a small black entrance which you step through, emerging into a high ceilinged vestibule... wonderfully cool and white, with the lone pensative figure of Rodin's el Pensador welcoming you. A ramp makes its way up the six floors, in a smoothly ascending coil-like movement, until you reach the sala at the top. The museum culminates in a forest of sculptures by Rodin and Salvador Dalí among others.
Steps up to the entrance
Aluminium hexagons which cover the outside and entrance
Bright spacious vestibule
Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker" in the vestibule
Botero sculptures in the foreground
"The Fish", by Juan Soriano (Mexican), 1958-1960
Ramp leading upwards
Painting by Joan Miró, "Specific graphic", 1952
Spiralling up to the top floor
The top floor is full of sculptures
"Profile of Time", Salvador Dalí, 1977
One more thing to note: Carlos Slim has very generously waived any entrance fee. He wants all Mexicans to be able to come free of charge and see international works of art in their very own country.