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Diego Rivera and His Influence on The 20th Century Art

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Diego Rivera was a highly respected figure in the 20th century, especially when it came to art. He was a famous character, not only known to Mexicans, but to people of all races that even to this day he continues to inspire. He worked as an artist from 1907 to 1957 in the twentieth century. The artist spent most of his adulthood in Europe and the United States, and at his home in Mexico City. Early in his career, he began to study cubism and later adopted postimpressionism. Though, years later he abandoned the cubism style and focused more on the latter. His unique style and the prospect is one that can be recognized as his own form of art at first glance. He participated in many various events, as a dedicated Marxist, in politics and then joined the Communist Party of Mexico in 1922. As a leader of The Mexican Rural Movement, Rivera created popular Mexican political murals that often involved attacks against the ruling order, church, and capitalism. He hosted Russian exile in the 1930s at his home in Mexico City, with Leon Trotsky and his wife. Diego Rivera lived in unresolved times and led a turbulent life. He has become a countercultural symbol of the 20th century, growing to be a legacy in art and even to this day does he continue to inspire reveries and thought in those that look up to him and his Marxist leanings, along with the Revolutionary Marxist, Che Guevara, and another group of contemporary figures. 

Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886. The young artist and his twin brother enjoyed their time with one another before the death of his twin at age 2. The family soon afterward moved to Mexico City. Diego’s parents saw their son’s creative abilities and promoted his artistic skills. They enrolled him at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts when he grew to be about twelve years old. There, under the supervision of a largely conservative faculty, he studied traditional painting and sculpting techniques. Gerardo Murillo, an artist who became a driving force behind the early 20th-century Mexican Mural Movement in which Rivera took part, was among his students at the academy. In 1905, the two outstanding students participated in an exhibition organized by Savia Moderna magazine, who came to be founded by a group of other artists that were out to prove their worth. Needless to say, the event was a success. Sooner after the event had passed, Rivera completed his studies. The following year, on the annual show at the San Carlos Academy of Art, Rivera exhibited more than two dozen paintings. The pieces ‘La Era,’ or ‘The Threshing,’ were works of Rivera’s at the time. They represented impressionistic ideas that factored light and value. Rivera used wall painting as his principal art method. He comprehended the wide-ranging and public accessibility to his advantage, contrary to what he viewed in multiple art museums as the representative character of art. Rivera used several walls that were located inside of Mexico and even the United States to paint a large number of remarkable set of works, which reinvented interest of murals in an artistic manner and thus contributed to reinventing the idea of public art throughout North America by setting up the federal art programme, which dates back from the 1930s. 

The main motives and influence on Rivera’s art were Mexican culture and it’s history. Rivera took pride in his heritage, using it as his biggest inspiration. In a style mainly due to the pre-Colombian culture, Rivera had collected a vast array of pre-Colombian artifacts, creating several panorama portraits of Mexican history and everyday life, using art expressing the countries’ Mayan roots, all the way to the Mexican revolution. Being an exemplary civilly committed artist, Rivera’s career consited of him being a lifelong Marxist who was an influential leader of the Mexican Communist Party and held important links to the Soviet Union. His art showed his open commitment to linked policy, portraying topics like Mexican commonality, the work of US citizens, and advanced figures like Emiliano Zapata and Lenin. His open, incongruous left-wing politics at times crushed the desires of rich supporters and sparked considerable controversy within and outside of the world of art. When Diego Rivera arrived back to Mexico from his study of art that was located in France, he was so overcome with emotion that he fainted of elation. He said subsequently, ‘Great art is like a tree, which grows in a particular place and has a trunk, leaves, blossoms, boughs, fruit, and roots of its own.’ He continues, clearly proud of his culture, ‘The secret of my best work is that it is Mexican.’ Within 1954, Diego Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, died. Shortly after the event, Rivera married his art dealer, Emma Hurtado, the following year. At that time, the health of Rivera was sinking at a consecutive rate. He traveled to different distances to be treated for cancer, but he was unable to be cured by doctors. Sadly, Diego Rivera passed away in Mexico City, Mexico on November 24, 1957, due to a heart failure. 

Diego Rivera continues to be a major figure in art of the twentieth century, even after the passing of his death. The home he grew up in from his childhood is now a Mexican museum. He remained a topic of interest and consideration in his life, especially when relating to his late wife Frida Kahlo. Their relationship sparked attention and regard. He quoted about his deceased wife, ‘If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was only the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.’ In the 1999 film Cradle Will Rock, actor Ruben Blades portrayed Rivera on television. Later, in the acclaimed biographical film Frido in 2002, Alfred Molina revived Rivera in a joint venture with actress Salma Hayek. As Mexico’s greatest twentieth-century painter, Diego Rivera had a profound effect on the world of art. Rivera has received the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern arts and architecture as one of his many contributions. Rivera’s liberal political views and stormy romance with painter Frieda Kahlo were a source of public intrigue at the time and remain so today. Rivera obtained his unique vision in public spaces and galleries, enlightened and inspired artists and characters, during a series of American visits between 1930 and 1940. 

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