How Mexican artists and intellectuals created a new identity for modern Mexico City through its ties to Aztec Tenochtitlan.
After archaeologists rediscovered a corner of the Templo Mayor in 1914, artists, intellectuals, and government officials attempted to revive Tenochtitlan as an instrument for reassessing Mexican national identity in the wake of the Revolution of 1910. What followed was a conceptual excavation of the original Mexica capital in relation to the transforming urban landscape of modern Mexico City.
Revolutionary-era scholars took a renewed interest in sixteenth century maps as they recognized an intersection between Tenochtitlan and the foundation of a Spanish colonial settlement directly over it. Meanwhile, Mexico City developed with modern roads and expanded civic areas as agents of nationalism promoted concepts like indigenismo, the embrace of Indigenous cultural expressions. The promotion of artworks and new architectural projects such as Diego Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum helped to make real the notion of a modern Tenochtitlan. Employing archival materials, newspaper reports, and art criticism from 1914 to 1964, Resurrecting Tenochtitlan connects art history with urban studies to reveal the construction of a complex physical and cultural layout for Mexico’s modern capital.