Diego Rivera: A Biography

Diego Rivera: A Biography

Diego Rivera: A Biography

Diego Rivera: A Biography

Synopsis

Diego Rivera: A Biography presents a concise but substantial biography of the famous and controversial Mexican artist. Chronologically arranged, the book examines Rivera's childhood and artistic formation (1886-1906), his European period (1907-1921), and his murals of the 1920s. It looks at the work he did in the United States (1930-1933) and follows his career from his subsequent return to Mexico through his death in 1957. Drawing from primary source materials, the book reveals facts about Rivera's life that are not well known or have not been widely discussed before. It explores his tempestuous marriage to renowned painter Frida Kahlo and looks at controversial works, such as Rivera's 1933 mural for the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, which featured a portrait of Communist party leader Vladimir Lenin, and was officially destroyed the following year.

Excerpt

In 1921, Mexico was recovering from a violent revolution that lasted 10 years and changed the course of the country forever. The minister of education, José Vasconcelos, had the challenge of dealing with a 90 percent illiteracy rate. He decided to launch a vigorous campaign of public education, which included a mural program developed in collaboration with artist Dr. Atl. This program had the purpose of educating the public about the history of Mexico and the sociopolitical ideas of the revolution. Artists like Dr. Atl, Roberto Montenegro, Xavier Guerrero, and Gabriel Fernández Ledesma participated in creating the first mural under this program in a former Jesuit school, El Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo in Mexico City. This was the beginning of Mexican muralism, the first mural movement in the world since the Italian Renaissance. Murals became an accessible and public visual dialogue with the Mexican people, an effective way to represent popular culture and everyday life and to interact with cultural and religious traditions. Muralism was a reaction against the modern expression of the ego by the individual artists because the murals could not be bought or sold. The murals expressed the most significant epics of the national experience and were thought of as painted books at the service of common . . .

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