Salle de la bibliothèque Miguel Lerdo
de Tejeda où se trouve la fresque
La révolution et les éléments .

The "Miguel Lerdo de Tejada": 2,000 m2 devoted to Revolution. In eight years of intense work, Vlady reinvented the art of the mural.

A Sistine Chapel devoted to Revolution -- all revolutions from Cromwell's to Lenin's, via the American War of Independence, the storming of the Bastille, and the uprisings in Latin America. But not all revolutions are political. Vlady portrays a Christian revolution, a Freudian revolution, even a musical revolution, in which Johann Sebastian Bach reaches out to John Lennon. In this monumental work, spanning 2,000 m2, Russian emotion and European tradition combine with Mexican vigour and sense of disproportion to give rise to a new type of artistic expression.

Vue panoramique de la fresque La révolution et les éléments .
Vlady reinvented the art of making murals. Of course, he was inspired by the colours of Venice, the monsters of Hieronymus Bosch, and the fluid rhythms of Francis Bacon. But the explosion of soft shapes and hard lines, of cruel detail, in the Miguel Lerdo de Tejada Library is unique. If Mexico invented muralism in the 1920s to provide an image of the Zapatista revolution that was both heroic and human, Vlady transformed it at a time when it was degenerating into a subproduct of bureaucratic realism, infusing it with his encyclopedic knowledge and febrile imagination. Today, Mexican muralism can be divided into two periods: that of Orozco, Siqueiros, and Rivera, and that of Vlady (with perhaps Tamayo providing the link between the two).

The murals in the Ministry of Finance's Miguel Lerdo de Tejada Library were commissioned by Mexican president Luis Echeverría Álvarez in 1971, allowing the artist freedom to choose his theme. Vlady worked on this monumental work from 1972 to 1982. Most of the frescoes are painted directly on the wall, using its stone as a pictorial element. Many giant canvases were set in the arches of doorways. In a mezzanine, some more intimate motifs are presented. An adjacent chapel houses Vlady's portrayal of the Freudian revolution. The main library is housed in the old San Felipe Neri temple built in pure Baroque style in the seventeenth century on the site of a hospice. Vlady's murals were unveiled in 1982 by president Jose López Portillo.