Diego Rivera was a Mexican muralist who produced work at the same time as José Clemente Orozco, and David Álfaro Siqueiros. His own pieces had decidedly Socialist themes, since he was a known leader of the Trotskyist Socialist movement in Mexico. Rivera was also married to renowned surrealist painter Frida Kahlo.
Read the following biography (en Español) of Diego Rivera.
1) What time period did he live in that overlaps with the time period of the novel/movie?
2) Click the ‘Trostkyist’ link above and answer the following question: Why do you suppose the Socialist movement so important in Mexico?
3.) Click on the pictures of “Detroit Industry” in the Wikipedia article, and view the larger high resolution pictures of the murals. What do the pictures communicate about the artist’s ideas about work?
4.) Follow this link to the photo of his mural entitled “Man: Controller of the Universe”. What is he communicating by his decision on the image of the man in the center of the painting?
5.) What was the controversy surrounding this particular painting when Rivera attempted to paint it at Rockefeller Center?
6.) Where does the painting sit now?
7.) View the series of pictures here of Rivera’s work entitled ‘Pan-American Unity’. What issues do they represent that we might address in this class? Use the keys to probe deeper into the mural’s significance.
8.) How do Rivera’s works compare to Orozco and Siquieros works?
9.) How could we represent similar themes in our mural that are related to your experiences?