URBAN PARADISE. PEDRO GUALDI AND CASIMIRO CASTRO
Mexico City has been represented throughout the centuries through chronicles written by Spanish conquistadors and travelers, screens, oil paintings, maps and lithographs that attest to its urban bloom.
Pedro Gualdi (1808-1857) and Casimiro Castro (1826-1889), two renowned 19th century artists, offer views and memories of the architectural splendour that city witnessed at the time through two publications edited by Decaen printing press and from which this selection stems from. Urban Paradise is an overview of the parallelisms of these artists points of view. Monuments of Mexico, published in 1841, a work by Italian set designer and painter Pedro Gualdi, is an album that shows the Mexican capital’s rapid urbanization, illustrated with gardens, public squares, relevant landmarks, and flagship buildings that show the predominance of Neoclassic taste at the time.
With his precise compositions, this talented set designer knew how to enhance the architectural quality of the spaces Mexico City’s population enjoyed Mexico and its surroundings, the work of Casimiro Castro, is one of the first compilations of Mexico City views drawn and lithographed by a Mexican. Its first edition was published in 1856 and it was continuously edited for several decades. His gaze is focused on the different social types that populated this metropolis. Castro also used the technological innovations of his time: he was one of the first people to use a hot-air balloon to produce his drawings. His views are a record of endless perspectives and the terrain that surrounds the city. With a difference of fifteen years between both albums, they show us a city in permanent transformation, one that is made visible through the attire of its inhabitants and the architecture of its spaces. Both albums represent valuable visual documents of Mexico’s history during the 19th century.