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The Mexican muralist movement emerged in the early XX century, as an artistic movement with educational purposes, this movement was essentially focused to honor the identity of the Mexican people and showing the achievements of the Mexican Revolution, exalting the indigenous art, as well as the Aztec and Mayan cultures aside from the European influences of the time.
Large murals were painted on heroic scale walls of public buildings. Muralist movement was one of the major cultural events in Mexico of the XX century.
Three Mexican muralist painters were responsible for giving life to this iconic movement which in now an important part of the cultural history of this country, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and Jose David Alfaro Siqueiros.
After spending many years in Europe, Diego Rivera had identified himself with the communist movement. But by the time he returned to Mexico, Rivera’s work influenced by the engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada, who was the one who originally used on his works the now very well-known skulls on the Catrinas Garbanceras, putting the face of dead to the images of life.
Diego Rivera collected on his works the ancient Indian and black traditions, and produced the mural known as “The banner of indigenismo and Marxism”. Among his greatest mural works “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park “, “Teatro en Mexico” and “Canto General de Pablo Neruda “.
Diego Rivera also made some of his greatest works in the United States, mainly in Michigan and New York.
Diego Rivera married twice to the now world-famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Some of his latest works made of natural stones mosaics, such as the murals on the figure at the entry gate of the UNAM (Mexico’s National University) stadium and at The Insurgents Theater.
José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco is one of the most representative artists of Mexico, he is the author of the world’s most important muralist painting collection.
He initiated his works as a muralist painter producing “Omnisciencia de la casa de los Azulejos” and “Revolución Social“, although he also produced some of the important part of his work in The United States.
Orozco’s works projects drama, violence and a schematic style that fits perfectly to express the revolutionary and the racial issues of its time, and to deliver its anti-establishment critical discourse. His characteristic diagonal lines and large volumes tends to hide his characters faces in his painting works.
One of Orozco’s greatest works is “Catharsis”, which can be seen at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City.
David Alfaro Siqueiros
Jose David Alfaro Siqueiros the artist painting and participating on Mexico’s political struggle were permanently hand on hand in his life. His work is a mix of the European Surrealism Expressionism heritage and his radical political ideas, which roots originated from his communist conceptions on the historical struggle of the popular classes and the indigenous workers in the world and in Mexico in particular.
Siqueiros, at that time was very much a believer of solidarity among the international communism as he was pro the Stalin, accused of participating on trying to kill Leon Trotsky on an attack, with several gunman, at his house in Coyoacan, in Mexico City in 1940. The attempt failed and Siqueiros spent several months in jail. After been liberated he was exiled to Chile.
On his murals, Siqueiros, plays with new materials, vivid colors and different textures.
He called his work “dynamic architecture” where those compositions he created eventually merged in his work as art, content and architecture.
The most appreciated works of this artist are “Portrait of the Bourgeoisie” and “La Marcha”