Money-grubbers empty huge bags of gold coins at the feet of the incorruptible armed peasant, cannons threaten him, and a general bedecked with medals raises a dagger to stab him in the back. Orozco’s training as an architect gave him a sense of the framed wall surface, which he easily commanded, projecting his clearly defined figures onto the solid mural plane in monumental scale. In addition, Orozco’s early experience as a maker of political prints and as a newspaper artist had taught him the rhetorical strength of graphic brevity, which he used here to assure that his allegory could be read easily. His skillful merging of the graphic and mural media effects gives his work an originality and force rarely seen in mural painting after the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Diego Rivera, Ancient Mexico , detail of History of Mexico , fresco in the Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, 1929-1935. inspired in part by ancient murals in his homeland, he sought to create a national Mexican style focusing on Mexico’s history and also incorporating a popular, generally accessible aesthetic in keeping with the socialist spirit of the Mexican Revolution. Rivera produced numerous large murals in public buildings, among them a series lining the staircase of the National Palace in Mexico City. In these images, painted between 1929 and 1935, he depicted scenes from Mexico’s history This section of the mural represents the conflicts between the indigenous people and the Spanish colonizers. Rivera included portraits of important figures in Mexican history, especially those involved in the struggle for Mexican independence. Although the composition is complex, the simple monumental shapes and areas of bold color make the story easily legible. was an avid proponent of a social and political role for art in the lives of common people and wrote passionately about the proper goals for an artist—goals he fully met in his own murals depicting Mexican history views stand in sharp contrast to the growing interest in abstraction on the part of many early-20th- century painters and sculptors.
Frida Kahlo, The Two Fridas , 1939. Oil on canvas, 5’7” x 5’7”. Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City. used the details of her life as powerful symbols for the psychological pain of human existence. Art historians often consider Kahlo a Surrealist due to the psychic, autobiographical issues she dealt with in her art. rejected any association with the Surrealists. She began painting seriously as a young student, during convalescence from an accident that tragically left her in constant pain. Her life became a heroic and tumultuous battle for survival against illness and stormy personal relationships. twin figures sit side by side on a low bench in a barren landscape under a stormy sky. The figures suggest different sides of the artist’s personality, inextricably linked by the clasped hands and by the thin artery stretching between them, joining their exposed hearts. The artery ends on one side in surgical forceps and on the other in a miniature portrait of her husband as a child. Her deeply
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