Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Diego Rivera - Renaissance fresco painting and modern art of Cubism in murals

Picture Courtesy:

Today is the 125th birthday of the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera  who is credited with the reintroduction of Renaissance fresco painting of Italy into modern art of Cubism and architecture.
Diego Rivera ( de A go rih VEH rə) was born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886. Even at the very young age of six years  Diego loved to draw and his father made a studio for him by covering the walls with black canvas on which he could draw with chalk. He enrolled in evening art classes at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. At age 16 he left and started his career as a painter. In Paris, Rivera encountered the works of such great masters as Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and Matisse. When he was looking for a new attractive and massive medium for complex painting to depict history and the life of people, he was attracted by the Fresco mural forms. After adopting this , his fame grew with a number of large murals depicting scenes from Mexican history.


Frescoes are mural paintings done on fresh plaster. Using the fresco form in universities and other public buildings, Rivera was able to introduce his work into the everyday lives of the people.

In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form— the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth. The background and object planes interpenetrate one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism's distinct characteristics.

Picture Courtesy:
During 1930, he was invited to paint murals in the United States. He painted for American Stock Exchange Luncheon Club and for the California School of Fine Arts. Then went to Detroit where in 1932 and 1933 he painted scenes from a Ford Motor plant.

Man at the Cross Roads- pic Courtesy-

Wherever possible he depicted his views supporting communism and the struggle of working class.Because of his radical politics and independent nature Rivera faced lot of  criticism during his early years in America. Rockefellers asked Rivera to paint a mural for the lobby of the RCA building in Rockefeller Center. “Man at the Crossroads” was to depict the social, political, industrial, and scientific possibilities of the twentieth century. In the painting, Rivera included a scene of a giant May Day demonstration with  portrait of Lenin leading the demonstration. When Rivera refused to remove the portrait, he was ordered to stop and the painting was destroyed.

Rivera’s  mural Dreams of a 'Sunday in the Alameda' depicted  his atheistic views by a text reading as  "God does not exist". This work caused a furor, but Rivera refused to remove the inscription. The painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription.

His personal life was eventful as he married and divorced many times and lost his child. He married Angelina, a Russian artist he met in London and later on Frida Kahlo a young artist of Mexico. In later years, his right arm became paralyzed due to stroke and he continued to paint with his left hand. He died of heart failure in 1957 at the age of seventy-one.


  1. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really sweet!
    painters edmonton

    painting contractor edmonton