DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957)
As famous for his art as his tempestuous marriage to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera’s
talent for historical murals and his tributes to earthy folk traditions made him one of
the most influential artists in the Americas and one of Mexico’s most beloved
painters. Influenced by Cubism and inspired by Post-Impressionism, it was when
Rivera began to study the Renaissance frescoes that he discovered his medium.
Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and
architecture and his vision and strong belief in public art led to his painting of some
of the most famous and controversial murals in America.
Diego Rivera incorporated his radical politics, being a life long Communist, and his
intense devotion to his cultural heritage into this art and saw his medium as an
antidote to the elite walls of galleries and museums. He gained fame as a muralist
and altered the course of American painting through his ability to incorporate his
politics while maintaining a sense of simple historicity. His ability to condense a
complex historical subject down to the most essential parts: the struggle of the
working class, the effect of war and industry in the name of progress, the life on
the American worker, was one of his greatest gifts.