Diego Rivera Essay, Research Paper
Ms. Maureen A. Thompson
Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Diego Rivera (20th century genius).
Diego Rivera (1886-1957), muralist painter, was one of the greatest artist in the 20th
century. Born in Guanajuato Mexico on December 8th 1886, He studied in the San Carlos
Academy and in the carving workshop of artist Jos? Guadalupe Posada, whose influence was
decisive. Diego Rivera?s Legacy to modern Mexican art was decisive in mural and canvas, he
was a revolutionary painter looking to take art to the big public, to the streets and buildings,
managing a precise, direct and realistic style, full of social content (http://wwwdiegorivera.com).
Rivera painted more than two and a half miles of murals in his lifetime. The first was a
series of 124 panels encompassing the entire history of Mexico. It took him more than four
years, working eight to fifteen hours at a stretch, to do all the painting by hand. Up on
completing the work he was instantly famous (Lives of the artists – p.89).
Diego was an excellent student. A report card from December 1896 showed that he
received first prize in the year-end exams. Late in 1898, he was graduated with honors from
elementary school, just four years after entering.
Throughout his scholar years the gift for painting slowly developed. When he was barely
ten years old, Diego?s family moved to Mexico City. There, he obtained a government
scholarship to attend to the Academia De Bellas Artes de San Carlos (San Carlos Fine Arts
Academy), in which he remained until he was spelled in 1902, due to his participation in the
student revolts of that year.
Five years later, Diego had his first exposition, which was a great success among the
public; this earned him a Veracruz?s government scholarship to continue his pictoric education
in Spain, at the San Fernando de Madrid school. From there he traveled to France, Belgium,
Holland and Great Britain, between 1908 and 1910, until he finally moved to Paris in 1911. In
1910 he also exhibited forty of his artworks in Mexico, with which, even though his vigorous
style was not fully developed, he obtained a favorable reaction from the public. The murals that
Rivera painted in Mexico turn him so famous that he became, not only the leader of a pictoric
movement, but also a political leader.
In the 1930 decade, his fame expansion took Rivera to show his art in New York, an was
asked to paint at the Detroit Art Institute and at the Rockefeller Center in New York, where his
fresco ?Hombre en la encrucijada (man at the crossroads)?, received a lot of criticism because of
the resemblance of one of his figures with Lenin. The mural was destroyed by the Rockefeller
Center, and substituted by another from Brangwyn, but Diego later reproduced it for the Palacio
De Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace) in Mexico City.
During the final years of his work in the Ministry of education courtyard, he founded
relaxation by starting another set of murals. He was hired to paint frescoes in the administration
building and the chapel at the Universidad Aut?noma de Chapingo (the Agricultural College at
Chapingo). By August 1927, Rivera had completed the Chapingo murals and nearly all of the
more than one hundred panels at the Secretaria de Educacion Punblica. He had created a body
of work that would take many artists a lifetime to finish. He was already famous and becaming
even more so (Diego Rivera – Mexican Muralist p.70-74)
The following is list of the locations of Rivera?s murals and smaller works in the United
Sates. San Francisco was Rivera?s firs stop during his stay in the United States in the early
1930s and he had many patrons there, so the city is especially rich with his work.
? Rivera painted the mural at City College of San Francisco, Pan-American unity
(marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and South of this Continent).
? The mural in the San Francisco Art Institute?s exhibition hall, The Making of a Fresco,
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art owns the important oil paintings The Flower
Carrier and Symbolic Landscape.
? Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Flower Day and in San Diego Museum of Art owns
A Lady in White and a Self-Portrait.
? At the Art Institute of Chicago you can see Portrait of Madame Marcoussis.
? The Fog Art Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts) owns a few
pencil drawings, including Sleeping Woman.
? The Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton owns a Self-Portrait as well as
Market Scene, a large, movable fresco.
? The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of Rivera?s greatest murals, Detroit Industry.
? Rivera?s distinctive Portrait of the Knight Family is at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
? You can see Rivera?s painting Copalli at the Brooklyn Museum.
? The Philadelphia Museum of Art has one of the largest collections of the master?s work
in the United States. It contains Liberation of the Peon and Sugar Cane.
? The Cubist Still Life with Gray Bowl is at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library-Austin
Texas ( a weekend with Diego Rivera p.49-51).
From the end of the 1930 decade he painted landscapes an portraits. In his last paintings,
he developed an indigenist and social style of great popular atractive. His most ambitious and
grates project, an epic mural based on Mexico?s history for the National Palace, was left
unfinished due to his death, in November 25th 1957 at Mexico City.
?A Weekend With Diego Rivera?Rizzoli international Publications, Inc. 1994
?Diego Rivera Mexican Muralist? Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.
Krull Kathleen ?Lives of the Artists? Harcourt Brace & Company 1995. San Diego, New York