Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) stands between the e. end of Alameda Park and Av. Lázaro Cárdenas/Eje Central (M: Bellas Artes, lines 2 and 8). Construction of this palatial building, designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari, began in 1904 but was interrupted by the Revolution of 1910. Finally dedicated in 1934, it is a legacy of Porfirio Díaz's economically progressive but politically oppressive regime.
The decorative sculptures on the facade include garlands, flowers, masks and a sculptural group called “Harmony.” A sculpture of Pegasus stands in the outdoor esplanade. Inside the look is pure 1930s Art Deco. Two works by Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo are on the second floor.
The huge second- and third-floor murals by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros are highlights. Orozco's “Catharsis” depicts man's social versus natural tendencies, while Siqueiros' allegorical “New Democracy” shows a female figure breaking free of chains. “Man at the Crossroads” was originally commissioned for New York City's Rockefeller Center in 1933; after being rejected due to its anti-capitalist themes, Rivera re-created it here the following year.
On the fourth floor is the National Museum of Architecture (Museo Nacional de Arquitectura). It displays models, sketches and photographs and features changing exhibits primarily focusing on contemporary architecture.
The city's premier cultural center is home to the National Opera Company, the National Ballet of Mexico, the National Dance Company and the National Symphony Orchestra. Traveling exhibitions of art, sculpture and photography are presented regularly.