"An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist."


Rivera (or Ribera), Diego (1886-1957) Muralist painter, his legacy to modern mexican art was decisive. He took art to the big public, to streets and buildings, managing a precise, direct, and realist style, full of social content. Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and architecture. 

Born in Guanajuato Mexico, Diego Rivera moved to Mexico City with his family. He studied in the San Carlos Academy and in the carving workshop of artist José Guadalupe Posada.

In 1907 Rivera moved to Europe, and spent most of the next fourteen years in Paris. This way he encountered the works of Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and Matisse, and received the influence of Cubism - among other styles.

Rivera, who had been searching for a new form of painting that expressed the complexities of his day and still reach a wide audience, found his medium in the Renaissance frescos of Italy. A Marxist, Rivera saw in this medium the opposite to the elite walls of galleries and museums. With the use of simplified forms and colorful palette, he caught the most significant moments in Mexican history in his mural paintings.

In 1957, at the age of seventy, Rivera died in Mexico City. His radical political views and tempestuous romance with the painter Frida Kahlo were then, and remain today, a source of public intrigue.


"Portrait of Natasha" (1943) Oil on canvas, 115 x 153 cm - 45.3 x 60.2 in. Private collection.



"The Exploiters" (1926) Fresco. Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo Chapel, West Wall.



"El hombre controlador del Universo" Fresco.



"El hombre controlador del Universo (left)"



"El hombre controlador del Universo (right)"



Mural by Diego Rivera showing the life in Aztec times, i.e., the city of Tenochtitlan.

Text source: unkown.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Fresco, Realism.

Diego Rivera's mural depicting Mexico's history at the National Palace in Mexico City.

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