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Analysis of Diego Rivera’s Making of a Fresco Showing The Building of a City

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The piece of art chosen to analyze is by Diego Rivera and it is named ‘The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City”. In this painting, the Rivera painted a scenery in which it shows the many workers it takes to complete a task, in this case the building of a city.

The painting shows the engineers, sculptors, artist assistants, architects and the general workers. Rivero also paints himself painting a mural. He also paints many real-life people who also contributed to his project. John Hastings, Clifford Wight, Matthew Barnes were just a few of those people who were included in this painting. There is a lot going on in Rivera’s painting. There are 6 different parts of the painting divided by straight lines that are the pieces of wood. These lines are meant to draw our attention to each different part of the building process in the painting. They are mostly all square sections which all combined form a trapezoid shape. In each section, there are different workers doing completely different tasks, making the painting having variety displayed. In the middle part, an architect, a designer and engineer are shown holding a paper which seems to be the project’s instructions. Next to them to the left, there is a worker and a sculptor hammering a big chunk of stone. Above the designer and engineers, there are 4 artists painting the mural of the general worker. Most of the colors used all seem to fall in to the warm and neutral side of the spectrum. Rivera uses the light and shading technique to make the people in the drawing seem like 3 dimensions. The painting itself is realistic. There is also linear perspective on the stairs that Rivera painted going downward. Rivera’s painting is Buon Fresco and he used water-based tempera pigments to create his painting. The technique includes painting on a wet plaster which is harder to paint on.

The main thing about the painting that stands out is the middle part where Rivera painted himself drawing a mural of a general labor worker. The general worker is painted using light and shade techniques that give the mural a 3-dimensional look as if you were looking at it in person. He also drew himself facing back with his shirt being a lighter shade than how he painted most of the other workers involved which brings the attention to him. The mural that he is painting stands out because of the size it is compared to the rest of the workers and details. It is the biggest square shape in the painting therefore it makes it the focal point. There is a repetition using square and rectangle shapes.

Rivera’s belief that the industrial worker is very important is what inspired him to create this piece of art. His painting is located inside the San Francisco Art institute. Rivera was a member of the Mexican Communist Party. Most of his murals engaged topics with social and political issue such as the Mexican Revolution. “The wall offered me at the School of Fine Arts was a small one of only 120 square feet, not at all suitable to my purpose, which was to present a dynamic concerto of construction — technicians, planners, and artists working together to create a modern building. Taking advantage of the vague stipulation as to the length of time I might remain in San Francisco, I chose another wall, ten times as big. It was here that I showed how a mural is actually painted: the tiered scaffold, the assistants plastering, sketching, and painting; myself resting at midpoint; and the actual mural subject, a worker whose hand is turning a valve so placed as to seem part of a mechanism of the building.” This is what Rivera wrote in his autobiography about his experience on the making of this mural. It is impressive how his painting came out apart from all of the obstacles that were thrown at him.

Overall, I feel that Rivera’s painting has a lot of value because it really does show the importance of the general worker. It shows the many workers it takes to complete the task. Every worker starting from the general workers all the way up to the engineers make an important role. This painting makes me feel appreciative of all the hard work every worker puts in. Proudness is another sense of emotion that we get from this painting from seeing the hard work, determination and dedication this painting brings us. Rivera did a great job of painting every single detail of every single general worker included in the process.

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Analysis Of Diego Rivera’s Making Of A Fresco Showing The Building Of A City. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from
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