Diego Rivera is considered to be the greatest Mexican painters of the twentieth century. He had a big effect on the international art world. He reintroduced fresco painting into modern art and architecture and painted many murals. Rivera wanted to show the lives of the Mexican people in his art. He wanted his art to be where all people could see it instead of being on walls of wealthy homes. His large, colorful murals were painted on walls of public buildings. Rivera was part of the Mexican Mural Movement. He was married to Freida Kahlo, one of our Faces of Creativity.
The painting of the week is Diego Rivera’s The Flower Vendor.
DiegoRivera was born to a well-to-do family in Mexico in 1886. He began drawing at the age of three. He was caught drawing on the walls. His parents, rather than punishing him, installed chalkboards and canvas on the walls. His art passion was encouraged. Rivera attended an art academy and later visited Paris where he was influenced by cubism painters such as Picasso and Cezanne.
Painting by Rivera
WEDNESDAY - Rivera, muralist for the Mexican people
Rivera mural in the National Palace
Diego Rivera is one of the most famous muralists. His art works helped to begin the Mexican Mural Renaissance movement of which he was a member. This mural movement in Mexico believed that art should be available to all people and should not just be enjoyed by wealthy collectors.
After the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican government commissioned Rivera to create murals for public buildings. These large public murals glorified the Mexican people, both in history and current day, such as everyday farmers and laborers.
The murals helped create a new national identity and pride in Mexico’s heritage. Rivera’s childhood home is now a museum in Mexico.
Diego Rivera was asked to paint several murals in the United States. He painted one for the California School of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Pacific Stock Exchange.
During the Great Depression, Henry Ford asked Rivera to create a mural to the American worker on the walls of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rivera completed the 27 fresco panels in 1933, called Detroit Industry, on the walls of a large garden court inside the institute. It showed the car plant workers of Detroit and celebrated the American industrial worker in the way that his earlier Mexican frescoes had celebrated the farmer.
Due to political ideas Rivera included into the painting, the mural was the focus of much controversy. Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s son, defended the work and it remains today as Rivera’s most significant painting in America.
In 1933, Diego Rivera was asked to paint a mural for the Rockefeller Center in New York showing man heading towards a new and better future. Rivera painted the mural but included a portrait of a Communist Russian leader, Lenin, who was very much disliked in America. Rivera was asked to remove the image of Lenin. Rivera refused but offered to add a portrait of Abraham Lincoln into the mural. Rivera was finally ordered to stop work. He was paid in full and the unfinished mural was destroyed. One of Diego's assistants had managed to take a few pictures of the work, so Diego was able to later recreate it.
Man, Controller of the Universe mural by Rivera
He did later repaint the mural for the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City and called it, Man, Controller of the Universe.