The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
At what was going to be a lecture organized at the Universidad Nacional de México during winter term, Manuel Toussaint set forth his ideas on what art education should be, since art provides a major support in completing the educational work the government is ready to carry out. His proposal divides art education into three parts: 1) the education of children for the development of their innate capabilities; 2) special education for those who have great artistic ability; in other words, the education of the artist; and 3) education for those who lack any culture—what was incorrectly called cultural propaganda. For the first part, art education was separated from general education; artists must be the ones to lead children into the art of drawing. For the second part, in a drastic departure from tradition, Toussaint proposed closing the Academia founded in 1781 and turning it into a museum. He would remove the teachers and have them give classes in the schools for the education of the artists; all this would take place in the workshops of the artists themselves, depending on their affinities. In regards to the third part, Toussaint thinks, there was no real alternative in Mexico of separating workers from their vices and leading them to the arts.
This article by Manuel Toussaint (1890–1955) presents fundamental changes in the art education of the Mexican people and fits in with the revolutionary postulates—according to which art provides a foundation for making better citizens.
His proposal to close the Academia de Bellas Artes (founded in 1781)—thus taking the artists out of the institution—was in fact a break with tradition. At the same time, Toussaint’s proposal that young artists train at the workshops of those artists with whom they feel more drawn to, echoed the model that had been used in Europe for a long time. In this system, the Academia would only serve to teach the students drawing. It is interesting to note the art historian’s attention to museums and the educational mission they should exercise through both lectures and guided visits.