Diego Rivera was regarded as the most influential Mexican artist of the 20th century. “When art is true, it is one with nature. This is the secret of primitive art and also art of the masters – Michelangelo, Cezanne, Seurat and Renior. The secret of my best work is that it is Mexican..”
Rivera was among the leading members and founders of the Mexican Muralist movement. His famous painting Dreams of a Sunday in the Almeda depicted Ignacio Ramirez holding a sign which read “god does not exist”. The painting was not shown for nine years until Rivera removed the inscription.
Diego Rivera’s art was inspired by political ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1914-15) and the Russian Revolution (1917) Rivera wanted to make art that reflected the lives of the working class and native peoples of Mexico.
Diego painted several murals in the US. Some of his works created controversy, especially the one he painted for the Rockefeller family in NYC. The Rockefellers asked Rivera to remove the portrait of Lenin and when Diego refused Rockefeller ordered the mural be destroyed. His mural Pan American Unity with bright blues, reds, yellows and browns was displayed at the Golden Gate International Exposition in CA.
I wrote about the tumultuous relationship between Diego Rivera and his third wife Frida Kahlo in my last blog. Seen here is his portrait of her.