On paper, the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada is a resource for thousands of economic records and newspapers of yesteryear. But step inside this research library tucked away in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico, and you’ll find the unassuming home of psychedelic frescoes depicting revolutionary scenes throughout history.
The Russian-Mexican artist Vladimir Víktorovich Kibálchich Rusakov (aka Vlady) painted the 21,527 square feet (2,000 square meters) of murals that cover the walls of this former 18th-century baroque church and theater. Entitled La Revolución y los Elementos, the murals are arguably some of the most lysergic representations of revolution ever committed to art, and take the muralismo movement to a completely different dimension.
Vlady began painting the chapel in the 1970s. At first, he painted a psychedelic mural of Freud and the sexual revolution, then moved into explorations of other revolutionary ideas and movements, from the musical revolution to upstarts throughout the Americas. Over the decade he worked on the mural, he painted revolutionaries at the Bastille, Jesus, and even himself. The textured details throughout are astonishing, too: Vlady once described taking a full day to paint a 20-inch (50-centimeter) section of the wall, armed with a brush bearing just four bristles.
Know Before You Go
While the library is open to the public, it's an active research institution, so be mindful of people working when you visit.