Zócalo (Plaza) of Mexico City

Zócalo (Plaza) of Mexico City

Pedro Antonio Gualdi, Italian, 7/22/1808 - 1/4/1857
Born: Italy
Work Locations: Mexico City, Mexico
Active Years: 1838-1857
oil and gouache on paper and canvas
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Frederic H. Douglas

Pedro Antonio Gualdi, Zócalo (Plaza) of Mexico City, 1847. Oil and gouache on paper and canvas; 9½ × 14½ in. Gift of Mrs. Frederic H. Douglas, 1956.72.

height: 9.5 in, 24.1300 cm; width: 14.5 in, 36.8300 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

This painting on paper is of the main plaza in downtown Mexico City (El Zocalo) which includes the the Cathedral (left) and National Palace (right). As part of the Mexican-American War (1846-48), the United States General Winfield Scott and his troops marched into Mexico City on September 14, 1847 and occupied the Mexican capital, hoisting the U.S. flag over the National Palace, seen here. Despite its small size, this artwork depicts a major moment in history.
     This unique painting was created by a New World artist with an equally interesting history. Pietro Antonio Gualdi was born in 1808 in Capri, Italy and studied drawing at the Art Academy of Modena and the Academia de Bellas Artes in Milan, where he went on to become a set painter at the La Scala opera house. In 1835 or 1836 Gualdi traveled to Mexico City as a set designer for the the opera company of the celebrated soprano Madame Albini. While in Mexico Gualdi branched out into printmaking producing a popular "Monuments of Mexico" subscription series beginning in 1839. During the U.S. occupation of Mexico City the ever entrepreneurial Gualdi created commemorative paintings and lithographs to sell to soldiers, seen here. Gualdi left Mexico for New Orleans in 1851 where he painted scenery and worked as an architectural illustrator, designing the classical mausoleum of the Mutual Benefit Society for the city's Italian immigrant population where he was buried upon his death in 1857.
     Another version of this painting, with variations, can be found in the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, http://louisianadigitallibrary.org/islandora/object/lsm-lps%3A336
--Anne W. Tennant & Julie Wilson Frick, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 15 June 1956 by Mrs. Frederic H. Douglas to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

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