One of the buildings worst hit by the 1985 earthquake was the Hotel del Prado, which contained the Rivera mural Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda). The mural survived the quake, and was subsequently picked up in its entirety and transported around the Alameda – it can now be seen in the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, at the western end of the park. It’s an impressive work – showing almost every famous Mexican character out for a stroll – but one suspects that its popularity with tour groups is as much to do with its relatively apolitical nature as with any superiority to Rivera’s other works. Originally it included a placard with the words “God does not exist”, which caused a huge furore, and Rivera was forced to paint it out before the mural was first displayed to the public.
Panels at the back of the sala housing the mural (Spanish on one side, English on the other), and also a leaflet available at the entrance, explain every character in the scene: Cortés is depicted with his hands stained red with blood; José Guadalupe Posada stands bowler-hatted next to his trademark skeleton, La Calavera Catrina, who holds the hand of Rivera himself, portrayed as a 9-year-old boy; Frida Kahlo stands in motherly fashion, just behind him.