Diego Rivera was one of the most revered Mexican painters and muralists. He was an ardent communist who chose to paint larger-than-life colorful murals which reflected on his believes. His paintings were mainly portraits which had a Mexican context. After various exhibitions, his work gained popularity and even got the Rockefellers appraisals, who were capitalists. Initially, he studied in Spain but later travelled to Paris where he studied under such renowned artists like Pablo Picasso.
Rivera was highly talented and his artistic skills were evident from an early age. Since he came from a wealthy and politically powerful background, he was able to secure a sponsorship to study in Europe at only 19.The Mexican government was keen to reconnect the citizens to the state they enjoyed before colonialism, the pre-Columbian Mexican society. Since Rivera came from a politically correct background, he was able to secure the sponsorship. Having first studied in Mexico, young Rivera already had communist ideas and his murals reflected on this. This highly contributed to his sponsorship.
When it comes to media, Rivera experimented with the encaustic technique. It normally uses beeswax, resin, thinner and pigment. It is then heated for bonding. The resins that Riviera originally used were very expensive in Mexico, so he changed to copal. The thinners that Riviera used were and turpentine lavender essence. He then used blowtorches to fuse the paint with the wax and keep it less viscous. This technique was originally used by the Greeks. Diego’s work is mainly a reflection on the communist ideals mainly equality and the view of the community as a whole. He aimed at painting easily understandable works which inspired self-empowerment, egalitarianism and interdependence in the community. In his later works, Rivera’s works had overt communist imagery and bordered on Marxism and Leninism. He glorifies the common man by incorporating him in his folk art as a laborer. He also honors the Mexican mythology of Aztec gods and religious practices including human sacrifice.
His style, which he coined and referred to as the Mexicanidad uses a Mexican theme to display culture and heritage. His murals aimed at flattening out three-dimensional objects into larger-than-real-life objects. They painted murals together, focusing on Mexican heritage and using a strong style that often flattened three-dimensional elements into two dimensions, and presenting objects as broader as and sturdier than they were in reality. Diego Rivera saw the purpose of art as a form of expressing oneself. His opinions are mainly on people, art, and politics He used his paintings to criticize his enemies and especially in his final days he was very critical of the Soviets. He also felt the purpose of his art was to turn the great Mexican stories into legends. It is uncanny how he changed the story of his younger years into a legend.
Rivera’s choices on paintings are strongly influenced by an appreciation for the Mexican heritage. “The tortilla maker” is one clear illustration of Mexican culture. His friends like David Siquieros also shaped his choices in style. His paintings are also highly influenced by communism and vary from cubism to Leninism.
Diego Rivera paintings in Mexico City were a reflection of the wave that hit in the late 19th century on the need to break from Victorianism to a modern approach. He used portrait and landscape to reflect science and technology through art mainly man and machine. They reflect the change that was compulsory at that age. He covers fields such as industrialization, urbanization, immigration, changes in law and a break from the astute Catholic Church. He showed the merits and demerits of applied science especially on medicine, warfare, pharmaceuticals and automobile industry. He was also able to coherently represent the industrial worker at a crossroad owing to the changes occurring at that particular time. Diego Rivera’s paintings depict unity, continuity, harmony and coherence. He is able to depict good and order and contrast it with evil and chaos. His work is highly relevant and will be highly appreciated for generations.
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