Rivera, Diego

Rivera, Diego

biographical name


Distribution of the Land, three mural panels by Diego Rivera, …—Schalkwijk/Art Resource, New York

(born Dec. 8, 1886, Guanajuato, Mex.—died Nov. 25, 1957, Mexico City) Mexican muralist. After study in Mexico City and Spain, he settled in Paris from 1909 to 1919. He briefly espoused Cubism but abandoned it c. 1917 for a visual language of simplified forms and bold areas of colour. He returned to Mexico in 1921, seeking to create a new national art on revolutionary themes in the wake of the Mexican Revolution. He painted many public murals, the most ambitious of which is in the National Palace (1929–57). From 1930 to 1934 he worked in the U.S. His mural for New York's Rockefeller Center aroused a storm of controversy and was ultimately destroyed because it contained the figure of Vladimir Ilich Lenin; he later reproduced it at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. With José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rivera created a revival of fresco painting that became Mexico's most significant contribution to 20th-century art. His large-scale didactic murals contain scenes of Mexican history, culture, and industry, with Indians, peasants, conquistadores, and factory workers drawn as simplified figures in crowded, shallow spaces. Rivera was twice married to Frida Kahlo.

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