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    El pabellón de México en Sevilla (1930) / Manuel Amábilis
    La polémica del arte nacional en México, 1850- 1910. --- México : Fondo de cultura económica, 1988
    p. 317-332 : ill.
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Amábilis, Manuel. "El pabellón de México en Sevilla (1930)." In La polémica del arte nacional en México, 1850- 1910, 317- 332. México: Fondo de Cultura económica, 1988.
    Exposición Iberoamericana (1929-1930 : Seville, Spain)

“El pabellón de Mexico en Sevilla,” by architect Manuel Amábilis, describes the Mexican pavilion at the 1930 Universal Exposition in Seville. In the prologue, Enrique González Martínez, the Mexican ambassador to Spain, explains that the architect Manuel Amábilis, the sculptor Leopoldo Tommasi, and the painter Victor M. Reyes combined their skills to create a pavilion inspired by the architecture of the Toltec civilization of the Yucatán peninsula. This structure reflected pride in Mexican autochthonous culture. Amábilis explains that when conceiving the plan of the pavilion, the artist wanted to communicate an essentially Mexican artistic identity by incorporating painting and color into architecture and sculpture, and by focusing on diagonal symmetries that reflect the landscapes of South America. The pavilion was planned to adapt the characteristics of indigenous Mexican art to a modern architectural structure to garner the attention and appreciation of European visitors to the Exposition. Amábilis describes the plan of the pavilion, which included four façades, one of which was the principal entryway. All the façades were decorated with relief carving over a red background, and Toltec symbols. The principal façade is distinguished by a carved frieze, columns decorated with the flaming or “plumed” serpent of Toltec origin, and an inner doorway with a painting by Victor M. Reyes. On the principal façade is also a carved scene representing the revolutionary Mexican ideal of the “solidarity of all the social classes for the progress of the nation,” that is rendered in a modern artistic style. There are also stele, and reproductions of the Chac-mool statutes found in Chichén Itzá, surrounding the main façade. In the article, Amábilis dedicates the pavilion, inspired by Mexican monuments, to the memory of indigenous Mexican ancestors.


Although various plans were entered for the Mexican pavilion, the Mexican government selected Manuel Amábilis’s plan for a pre-Hispanic pavilion instead of the neocolonial design proposed by Obregón Santacilia. Amábilis began the construction of the pavilion in Seville in 1928. Manuel Amábilis applied theories of the golden ratio to the design of the pavilion, and several other buildings, including El Toloc and La Iglesia de Las Monjas (the Nuns Church). Amábilis published a study on pre-Hispanic architecture, La Arquitectura Precolombina de Mexico, that was awarded a gold medal in 1929 by the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Spain). He was born in Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán province, and studied in Paris, where he met the sculptor Leopoldo Tommasi, and the painter Victor M. Reyes, who both collaborated with him in the execution of the plans for the Mexican pavilion. Amábilis’s Mexican pavilion exemplified the Mexican trend of neo-Toltec or Pre-Columbian inspired buildings. The pavilion represented the Mexican modern identity, which was formed by reappropriating [features taken from the] indigenous cultural heritage.

Molly Moog, collaborator
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Reproduced with the permission of Fondo de Cultura Economica, Mexico City, Mexico