Log In

Diego Rivera Edit Profile

artist

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera, was a prominent Mexican painter. His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican mural movement in Mexican art.

Background

Diego Rivera was born in December of 1886 and first began creating art and murals at the age of three after the death of his twin brother. Young Diego's parents caught him drawing on the walls of their home but rather than punish him for it they instead nurtured his growing creativity. They installed canvas and chalkboard on the walls and let Rivera create as he saw fit.

Education

His talents were not lost as Rivera studied art at Mexico City's Academy of San Carlos starting at the age of 10. In 1907, Diego Rivera continued his education in Europe.

Career

In 1907 Rivera went to Madrid, Spain, and worked in the studio of Eduardo Chicharro.

Then in 1909 he moved to Paris, France.

In Paris he was influenced by impressionist painters, particularly Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Later he worked in a postimpressionist style inspired by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Amedeo Modigliani.

As Rivera continued his travels in Europe, he experimented more with his techniques and styles of painting.

The series of works he produced between 1913 and 1917 are cubist (a type of abstract art usually based on shapes or objects rather than pictures or scenes) in style.

Some of the pieces have Mexican themes, such as the Guerrillero (1915).

He continued his studies in Europe, traveling throughout Italy learning techniques of fresco (in which paint is applied to wet plaster) and mural painting before returning to Mexico in 1921.

Rivera believed that all people (not just people who could buy art or go to museums) should be able to view the art that he was creating.

Rivera had a great sense of color and an enormous talent for structuring his works.

The frescoes in the Auditorium of the National School of Agriculture in Chapingo (1927) are considered his masterpiece.

The oneness of the work and the quality of each of the different parts, particularly the feminine nudes, show off the height of his creative power.

The murals in the Palace of Cortés in Cuernavaca (1929 - 1930) depict the fight against the Spanish conquerors.

In San Francisco he painted murals for the Stock Exchange Luncheon Club and the California School of Fine Arts.

Two years later he had an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Rivera returned to New York and began painting a mural for Rockefeller Center (1933).

After Rivera and Kahlo returned to Mexico, he painted a mural for the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City (1934).

This was a copy of the project that he had started in Rockefeller Center.

In 1935 Rivera completed frescoes, which he had left unfinished in 1930, on the stairway in the National Palace.

These frescoes show Rivera's political beliefs and his support of Marxism.

In 1947 he painted a mural for the Hotel del Prado, A Dream in the Alameda.

A celebration of fifty years of art

In 1951 an exhibition honoring fifty years of Rivera's art took place in the Palace of Fine Arts.

His last works were mosaics for the stadium of the National University and for the Insurgents' Theater, and a fresco in the Social Security Hospital No. 1.

Achievements

  • His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican mural movement in Mexican art.

Politics

Rivera was a member of the Mexican Communist Party and many of his works included representations of his political beliefs.

Membership

He was a member of Mexican Communist Party.

Connections

Anyone who knows the tale of Rivera's relationship and marriage to Frida Kahlo knows he was prone to infidelity. Throughout his life he would have only four marriages (five if you count the re-marriage of himself and Kahlo after a year of divorce) but those were plagued with by Diego's unfaithfulness. He had several children in and out of wedlock. Art and women were at the top of Diego's list of things he could never live without and his long marriage to Kahlo underscored that their relationship held something for him that his shorter marriages didn't.

father:
Diego Rivera Acosta

mother:
María del Pilar Barrientos

spouse:
Guadalupe Marín

spouse:
Frida Kahlo

spouse:
Angelina Beloff

spouse:
Emma Hurtado

Brother:
Carlos

friend:
Piet Mondrian