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.
This essay, written by Francisco Díaz de León, director of the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre [Open-Air Schools of Painting] in Tlalpan, explains that the Schools favor an aesthetic education and individual expression over technical education. He states that the School’s goal is to encourage students to see the beauty in nature, as recommended by Alfredo Ramos Martínez. To this end the School works to earn the students’ trust, and promotes an environment of freedom that—according to Díaz de León—stimulates a spontaneous expression of their spirit in works that are judged according to standards of “naïveté” and “primitivism.”
This essay, written by Francisco Díaz de León, director of the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre in Tlalpan, reflects a discursive emphasis on concepts that were advocated by the educational theories of the period, which valued romantic ideas such as spontaneity, naïveté, and primitivism. These ideas were also linked to the notion of “folk art” at the time. The Monografía de las Escuelas de Pintura al Aire Libre [Monograph on Open-Air Schools of Painting] describes a particular phase of the Schools, which were originally started in 1913–14 in the Santa Anita neighborhood as an alternative form of extramural education within the program sponsored by the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes [National School of Fine Arts]. Later, in the early 1920s, new life was breathed into these centers, leading to the teaching of an iconography that emphasized rural themes and a new appreciation for the architecture of the Viceroyalty period. Midway through that decade, when this book was published, several young artists who had studied at the Schools took over the direction of its various departments, bringing with them a greater focus on teaching children and youngsters. Their goal was to encourage students to develop an aesthetic appreciation of their surroundings, favoring expression over formal academic values, and producing work in a wide range of styles although, on the whole, emphasizing a more naïve, unpolished approach that would nonetheless resonate with the more formal style preferred by artists who had been trained at the academy.