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.
Best Pontones assesses the system of art instruction that was being used at that time in schools under the aegis of the Departamento de Dibujo y Trabajos Manuales [Ministry of Drawing and Manual Exercises]. An artist and a teacher, he thought that the Best Maugard Method made an important contribution by providing a foundation for a brand-new kind of art instruction rooted in national traditions. He explains how the method is applied and describes the basic approach that uses seven ornamental elements as a sort of alphabet that allows students to freely express their artistic feelings, always within the parameters of an “authentically Mexican” art.
Fernando Best Pontones (1889-1957), a relatively famous painter during the very early years of the 20th century, was one of the teachers who were charged with promoting the principles of the Best Maugard Drawing Method, a teaching system that was created by his cousin Adolfo. In 1922 and 1923, this method was taught to students and teachers in many schools; the goal was for elementary school children to develop their artistic abilities based on ornamental aspects of pre-Hispanic and traditional Mexican art. The method was short-lived and soon abandoned in the wake of criticism from teachers and artists that revealed the main inconsistencies of the approach suggested by Adolfo Best Maugard (1881-1964). The concept, however—which was considered vulgar and steeped in folklore—was very well received in the United States, where it was seen as an accurate reflection of Mexican artistic expression.