Continuing with my series of photographs from the vibrant city of Guadalajara, Mexico (you can see the first post HERE), today’s post takes a look at the Hospicio Cabañas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in the Americas.
The Hospicio Cabañas was founded in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara to provide care and shelter for the disadvantaged – orphans, old people, the handicapped and chronic invalids. Prolific Spanish architect Manuel Tolsá designed a predominantly Neoclassical complex on a monumental scale yet the complex is erected on one level so as to facilitate the movement of the sick, the aged, and children.
In the late 1930s, the chapel was ornamented with fifty-seven superb frescoes painted by José Clemente Orozco, one of the greatest Mexican muralists of the time. These works are considered a great masterpiece of Mexican art and illustrate both Spanish culture as well as Mexico’s indigenous culture with gods, sacrifices and temples. The focus of the murals is found in the chapel’s dome with the work “El Hombre de Fuego” (The Man of Fire) which represents the submission of humans to machines.
Although it served for a time as barracks in the mid-19th century, the hospice lasted well into the 20th century and continued to function until 1980. Currently, Hospicio Cabañas is the home of the Cabañas Cultural Institute and the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Hospicio Cabaña was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 which designated the site as protected as an immoveable historic monument under the 1972 Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Monuments and Zones which imposes strict controls on interventions. A good thing.
My daughter and I visited this landmark location during our recent trip to Guadalajara. Enjoy the photographs, and learn more about visiting Guadalajara at www.visitmexico.com
Inside the main courthouse…
José Clemente Orozco’s stunning “El Hombre de Fuego” (Man of Fire)
José Clemente Orozco’s work alone is worth a visit to Hospicio Cabañas. But wait, there’s more…
“Sirena” by Jesús Serna
“Agentes sociales” by visual artist David Birks
“La exhumación del conquistador Cristóbal Romero” by Jorge González Camarena, a prominent Mexican painter, muralist and sculptor
“Daft Punk” by Enrique Oroz
In the courtyards, the work of French conceptual artist Daniel Buren
One last look at Orozco’s “El Hombre de Fuego” before leaving the building…
Back outside, my daughter and I take five on one of a series of bronze benches and chairs created by Guadalajara-born artist Alejandro Colunga. Hospicio Cabañas is a must-see destination in Guadalajara. Nuff said.