The sparkling and great history of the glass curtain of Fine Arts

This glittering backdrop has seen the most virtuous artists for more than 9 decades.

Bellas Artes is more than just the main venue for artists in CDMX.

It is an amazing place, whose French-style architecture has the power to dazzle anyone.

It is also the home of one of the most spectacular curtains ever made; a glass curtain that weighs 22 tons and was brought to our country in 1911 to be part of the “National Theater”, a project devised in the governor of Porfirio Díaz.

For more than nine decades, this curtain has seen the most virtuous artists in the world and in Mexico pass through the stage of the Alameda Palace.

From the voice of María Callas or Luciano Pavarotti, through the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, to that almost unreal concert that Juan Gabriel gave for hours and hours; the curtain has seen it all.

Witness legends of the art world
This curtain has also been a silent witness to a series of legends that are contained in the different halls of the palace.

One of the most famous horror stories is that related to the spirit of an orchestra conductor who, after dying behind the scenes, was left wandering around the venue.

Some watchmen say they have seen him play a violin erratically in box 33.

For this reason, it is worth telling the story of this structure (which is more of a jewel than anything else) that is located in the most important lyrical theater in the country.

A piece of art in itself that has no equal in the world and that is made up of more than a million small crystals arranged in such a way that they resemble a landscape.

A brief history of the Palace of Fine Arts and its curtain
The Palace of Fine Arts can be approached from multiple points of view; politics, soil mechanics, architecture, history or even the European influences that Pofirio Díaz had.

This tells us about the importance and wealth of this property located just a few blocks from the Historic Center.

The building is part of an architectural project that was drawn up during the first years of the 20th century to commemorate a century of the Independence of Mexico.

This is how Mexico City saw such beautiful and iconic spaces as the Postal Palace and the National Museum of Art arrive, and although these structures were finished on time, the National Theater project had to be postponed due to the imminent arrival of the Revolution Mexican.

The curtain was for the National Theater
And although the construction of this theater began in 1911, it had to be interrupted until the 1930s.

However, the only thing that the architect Adamo Boari left finished during the first phase was the famous curtain, which was commissioned from several artists with a single premise, that in the event of a fire, it would not endanger the public or the artists. .

Although the Diaz government received several proposals, finally in 1909 the prestigious Tiffany & Co., in New York, was commissioned.

A jewelry store that not only starred in an emblematic novel by Truman Capote, but also made diamonds fashionable and even better, diamond rings for those who wanted to get married.

To do it, the same creator of the firm was involved, who once he was left with the project, sent the landscaper and set designer Harry Stoner to see the mountains in Mexico City to paint them. The result was a simply amazing work.

What are the characteristics that make this curtain special?
The grand curtain is made up of over a million pieces of opaline Tiffany glass. It works as a double wall, whose front part is made of bronzed sheet to form 206 squares as a frame and the back is a sheet of zinc.

In front, more than a million crystals are held. Each one measures 2 x 2 centimeters, they are refractory and fireproof. These crystals form a puzzle landscape.

The curtain simulates a large window that overlooks the Valley of Mexico, with Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl and the greater lake below.

This view was the one that could be seen from the National Palace at the beginning of the 20th century. The measures of the curtain are 12.5 meters high by 14.5 wide.

It is 32 centimeters thick and weighs no more than 22 tons. The whole is something truly beautiful.

The glass curtain still shines

This enormous curtain was first exhibited in New York in 1911 and a year later it was transported to our country in parts on the Monterrey ship to be assembled in what would become the National Theater, and later to reach its current destination, the Palacio de Bellas Arts.

Currently there are tours to visit it from Tuesday to Friday, from 1:00 to 1:30 pm, within the guided tours of the palace, which also show the main show room and the stained glass window of God Apollo with the art muses.

Admission is free but limited to 80 visitors.