A tableau that draws on the historic and the divine was revealed last week in downtown San Jose at the intersection of Empire and Tenth streets.

A crowd gathered next to San Jose’s Guadalajara Restaurant on November 1 for the unveiling of the new mural “La Gran Cultura Resonance,” a product of the Empire Seven Studios’ Mural Project. The piece, which runs the length of the building, has a trompe l’oeil aspect, with large painted blocks surrounding a massive portrait of the Mayan maize god. Dancers from Movimiento Cosmico performed an Aztec dance ceremony at the unveiling.

“I took Mayan, Aztec and Toltec influences to capture that bold elegance you really see in Meso-American art,” says Jesus Rodriguez, the lead designer for the mural.

A latticework of blocks and ridges, lined in soft colors that give them dimension, draw the eye to the central portrait of the Maize god, a major deity in Mayan culture. The mural offers an interpretation of a Mayan legend that describes how corn, a staple food, was given to the Mayan civilization.

“La Gran Cultura Resonance” is result of 12 weeks of preparation, and numerous tweaks to the design. The artists have incorporated the rigidity of historic art with the spontaneous conceptualizing of street art. And the piece brings color to what had been underwhelming intersection.

This is the fifth installment of Empire Seven Studio’s Mural Project, which seeks to provide a forum for public art in San Jose. “I want to give back and feel a sense of community,” says Juan Carlos Araujo, co-owner of Empire Seven Studios.

The hand-painted mural is the design of lead artist Rodriguez, but the actual creation of the piece was a collaborative effort among local artists William Moran (E7S project manager/muralist), Abel Gonzalez, John Barrick, Ivan Gonzalez, Emilio Gallegos and Tamiko Rast. Some of the collaborators were present for the unveiling, including Abel Gonzalez, a local artist who is slated to paint the next work for the Empire Seven Mural Project.