woensdag 29 februari 2012

Mexico, Hospicio Cabañas, Guadalajara

The Hospicio Cabañas was built at the beginning of the 19th century to provide care and shelter for the disadvantaged – orphans, old people, the handicapped and chronic invalids. This remarkable complex, which incorporates several unusual features designed specifically to meet the needs of its occupants, was unique for its time. It is also notable for the harmonious relationship between the open and built spaces, the simplicity of its design, and its size. In the early 20th century, the chapel was decorated with a superb series of murals, now considered some of the masterpieces of Mexican art. They are the work of José Clemente Orozco, one of the greatest Mexican muralists of the period.



Hospicio Cabañas is a unique architectural complex, designed to respond to social and economic requirements for housing the sick, aged, young and needy, which provides an outstanding solution of great subtlety and humanity. Orozco's murals in the chapel represent in part the most symbolic and characteristic elements of the indigenous culture of Mexico (gods, sacrifices, temples) and for the rest those of Spanish culture (kings, monks, churches). The central feature represents the submission of humans to machines, culminating in the masterpiece Man of Fire .
A sequence of droughts, floods and severe frosts created much poverty and misery in the town, which was founded in 1542. Around 1791 the Bishop of Guadalajara ordered the building of a hospital for the most destitute people, together with a group of lodgings for the workers and an orphanage. This project was taken up by his successor, Juan Ruiz de Cabañas, when he arrived in Guadalajara in December 1796. He requested the authorization of the Spanish Crown to create a Casa de la Misericordia to house the homeless, old people and orphans of the town.
Royal approval was given on 5 September 1803 to build a Casa de Expósitos (orphanage), which would also accept aged men and women, handicapped people and chronic invalids, along with their families, orphans or children of parents incapable of feeding them, as well as poor pilgrims. In Mexico City Bishop Cabañas had met Manuel Tolsá, an architect and sculptor from Valencia who had made some notable contributions to the architecture of Mexico. Tolsá accepted a commission to design the proposed Hospicio, but entrusted supervision of its execution to his pupil, José Gutierrez, who carried out most of the work between 1805 and 1810 (with the exception of the chapel).
The War of Independence interrupted the work, and the uncompleted buildings were used as a barracks and stables, first by the insurgents and then by the Royalist forces, until Mexico secured its independence from Spain in 1821. The Hospicio was not inaugurated until 1829. It was to become a barracks once again in 1858. When the military departed, the management of the Hospicio passed to the Sisters of Charity, and it was agreed that all the orphans would in future bear the name Cabañas. In 1872 it housed more than 500 people. However, with the expulsion of the sisters in 1872 economic aid was cut off and the number of orphans was halved by 1880. This unhappy situation was rectified by the action of the governor in 1883.
The growth of the Mexican Muralist movement was a demonstration of national cohesion and identity following the 1910-20 revolution. In the 1930s the Government of Jalisco invited José Clemente Orozco to execute a number of works in public buildings in Guadalajara, where he worked between 1936 and 1939. His murals in the chapel of the Hospicio Cabañas, representing the multi-ethnic character of Mexican society and the allegory of the Man of Fire , are among his finest works. In the 1980s the Government of Jalisco located its newly created Cabañas Cultural Institute in the Hospicio, to house schools of art and crafts, exhibition rooms, and areas for theatre, music and dance.
The entire complex is laid out on a rectangular plan: all the buildings, which are, except the chapel and the kitchen, single-storey, are ranged round 23 courtyards. The great majority of these are arcaded on at least two sides. The architectural solution adopted by Tolsá for the Hospicio is unique: its roots are to be found in ensembles such as the Monastery of El Escorial in Spain or the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.

Historical Description

Guadalajara was founded in 1542, on the left bank of a river flowing through a wide valley. Two native settlements nearby were eventually integrated into what became the capital of the Province of Nueva Galicia and the seat of a bishopric.
A sequence of droughts, floods, and severe frosts created much poverty and misery in the town. Around 1791 the Bishop of Guadalajara, Fray Antonio Alcalde, ordered the building of a hospital for the most destitute people, together with a groups of lodgings for the workers and an orphanage. This project was taken up by his successor, Juan Ruiz de Cabaiias, when he arrived in Guadalajara in December 1796. He requested the authorization of the Spanish Crown to create a Casa de la Misericordia to house the homeless, the old people, and the orphans of the town. [Translator's note There is no single English equivalent for this term, since the establishment combined the functions of a workhouse, hospital, orphanage, and almshouse, all of which were separate establishments in Britain.] In his letter to the King he identified the site that had been selected, at a high and healthy location outside the town with an excellent water supply.
Royal approval was given on 5 September 1803 for the building of a Casa de Expositos (orphanage), which would also accept aged men and women, handicapped people, and chronic invalids, along with their families, male and female orphans or children of parents incapable of feeding them (under ten years of age), and poor pilgrims.
In Mexico City on his way to take up his appointment in Guadalajara, Bishop Cabaiias had made the acquaintance of Manuel Tolsa, an architect and sculptor from Valencia who had made some notable contributions to the architecture of Mexico, including the remodelling of the dome and completion of the towers and facades of the cathedral in Mexico City. Tolsa accepted a commission to design the proposed Hospicio, but entrusted supervision of its execution to his pupil, Jose Gutierrez, who carried out most of the work between 1805 and 1810 (with the exception of the chapel).
The War of Independence interrupted the work, and the uncompleted buildings were used as a barracks and stables, first by the insurgents and then by the Royalist forces, until Mexico secured its independence from Spain in 1821. The death of Cabaiias in 1823 was deeply felt by the local people, and the Governor of the State brought pressure to bear on the Church to complete the entire establishment. Work began again in 1828 and the Hospicio was inaugurated the following year.
During the troubled times that followed, the Hospicio was once again taken over for military pwposes in the 1830s. However, it quickly regained its original function. Work had to be carried out later to rebuild the dome of the chapel, damaged in a violent storm in 1842.
When the law expropriating Church property was enacted in 1853, the Bishop of the time divided up the enormous kitchen garden into forty plots crossed by two roads. However, the institution did not suffer financially during this period, thanks to the mlmificence of private benefactors.
It was to become a barracks once again in 1858. When the military departed, the Bishop passed the management of the Hospicio to the Sisters of Charity. This was the occasion for a further inaugural ceremony, during which it was agreed that all the orphans would in future bear the name Cabaii.as. This saw the start of the most important period in its history. In 1872 it housed more than five hundred people. However, with the expulsion of the Sisters in 1872 economic aid was cut off and the number of orphans was halved by 1880. This unhappy situation was rectified by the action of the Governor in 1883, and the number of inhabitants rose steadily - 442 in 1887, 672 in 1910.
The growth of the Mexican Muralist movement was a demonstration of national cohesion and identity following the 1910-20 revolution. In the 1930s the Government of Jalisco invited one of its most distinguished exponents, Jose Clemente Orozco, to execute a number of works in public buildings in Guadalajara, where he worked between 1936 and 1939. His murals in the chapel of the Hospicio Cabaii.as, representing the multi-ethnic character of Mexican society and the allegory ofthe Man of fire, are among his finest works.
In 1980 the Government of Jalisco located its newly created Cabaii.as Cultural Institute in the Hospicio, to house schools of arts and crafts, exhibition rooms, and areas for theatre, music, and dance. More recent additions have been a documentation centre and the office of the State Cultural secretariat. The State Government and the National Institute of Anthropology and History are also proposing to install a school of restoration in the Hospicio.


Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie plaatsen