Orozco painted 57 frescoes in the building, covering the vaulted ceiling and walls with scenes of the history of Mexico from before the Spanish arrived to early 20th century industrialization. Like the other Guadalajara frescoes, his history has few heroes and does not suggest either an idyllic pre-Hispanic world or progress toward a peaceful and cultured present.
The transepts have images of ancient Mexico as a barbaric world, with rituals for the god of war, Huitzilipochtli.
|Huitzilipochtli, God of War|
In the vaults of the nave, he depicted the Spanish conquest, with Philip II of Spain carrying a cross and crown, two-headed horses, and a Franciscan monk who carries a cross that doubles as a dagger. The Franciscan stands in front of a sheet of letters, indicating that the missionaries brought reading as well as torment to the Mexican people.
|Philip II of Spain|
|Cabanas ceiling, Franciscan|
|Two-headed horse, Spanish conquest|
|Mechanized horse and rider|
The most puzzling scenes are the walls of the nave and transepts, where Orozco painted both icons of culture and art like Cervantes, El Greco and Cabanas himself, alternated with images of despotism and demagogery. Orozco continues to juxtapose positive and negative back into early history and forward into the contemporary world. Describing himself as a "free thinker," he does not adopt any political dogma and questions all ideology. Unlike most traditional narrative painting cycles, this one does not promote the idea of historical progress or lead to a happy ending, or even to an unhappy ending.
|Man of Fire, with surrounding trades/occupations|
|Man of Fire and three surrounding figures|