Hispanic Heritage in a Fresco

During a visit to Albuquerque this summer, I was lucky enough to see this amazing work while it was still in progress.

This 4,000 sq. ft. fresco is painted inside the Torreon of the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in Albuquerque by New Mexico artist Frederico Vigil. He spent close to a decade on the project, which shares the story of Hispanic culture through the ancient art of fresco. The mural depicts Hispanic history through historical periods plus significant and iconic people and places.

The fresco will be unveiled October 10, when the NHCC celebrates its 10


birthday .

This should be just one stop during a visit to Albuquerque, which I found to be a great city for a family holiday.

Following in the footsteps of fresco masters such as Giotto, Michelangelo, Masaccio and Goya, and, more recently, muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, Vigil continues this time-honored tradition inside the Torreon of the NHCC.

The intricate process of fresco requires many steps for each component of a mural. When the exhibit is completely finished, the NHCC will offer interpretive materials, classes and workshops showing the process so even non-artists can comprehend the magnitude of the masterpiece they are viewing.

As it is painted in the round, there are several points of entry into the fresco, allowing visitors to begin their journey wherever they choose. Over 3,000 years of Hispanic history are depicted in the broadest sense. In short, the fresco depicts and conveys the complexities, diversity and richness of the Hispanic experience. Themes such as science, literature, religion, acculturation, and technological evolution are followed across geographical expanses and time.

Born and raised in Santa Fe, Artist Frederico Vigil grew up infused with the rich history that has become the trademark of his art. Vigil first became involved with fresco during an internship in the 1970s with Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Pope Dimitroff, who were notably, apprentices to Diego Rivera.This initial experience piqued his interest and he has since dedicated his life to creating frescos. Since completing his first fresco in 1984, he has created 12 major frescos; the one at the NHCC is his largest to date.

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