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Diego Rivera was one of modern Mexico’s original painters. He was born in Guanjauto
in 1886 and died in 1957. He went to school at San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City.
Inspired by native Mexican art and by his experiences in Europe, when he studied art there
between 1907-1909 and 1912- 1921. While in Europe, he became familiar with the artwork of
Picasso and Paul C?zanne. He painted large murals dealing with Mexican life, history, and
social problems. One of his paintings he put in the Palace of Fine Arts, which is located in
Mexico City. In 1921 Rivera returned to Mexico and took a prominent part in the revival of
mural painting which was initiated by artists and sponsored by the government. He was
creative and bold and his statements were made quite clear through his work.
He believed that art should be made available to working people and serve as ?eye
candy?, or ?entertainment?, so in order to reach so many people, he painted his artwork onto
large walls on public buildings, where everyone could see his skill, creativity, and boldness.
Since his paintings mainly reflected and were about social themes, many of his murals were
politically argued and caused some controversy in both Mexico and the United States.
Diego Rivera was an active member of the Mexican Communist Party, and in 1927-1928
he taught in Moscow. In 1929, he married a fellow artist named Frida Kahlo, who is now
considered to have been a leading 20th-century Mexican painter. He was influenced by her
work, and included her portrait in many of his murals. Rivera also started several works in the
United States, including a mural for the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1932-1933.
One of his murals, also called a fresco, was commissioned in 1933 for the new RCA
building in Rockefeller Center, New York City. But it was then ordered to be destroyed very
shortly after its completion because it included a portrait of the Soviet leader Lenin.
Diego was one of the greatest and most well-known artists, and muralists, in Mexico,
and even in the United States. His work was completely what he wanted them to be, and they
were beautiful, but they displayed very controversial messages and even images (i.e. Lenin). But
he will always be a well known artist and favorite for even more years to come. His work will be
looked upon and stared at by many, many more people.
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