Life and Work of Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera, more formally known as Diego Maria de la Concepcion Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodriguez was born on December 8, 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico to well-to-do parents. His father was from Spanish nobility and Rivera had advantages as a result of this. At the age of ten, Rivera was sent to the Academy of San Carlos, located in Mexico City, to study art. His studies continued in Europe thanks to the sponsorship of Veracruz's governor, Teodoro A. Dehesa Mendez. He arrived in 1907 in Europe where he saw the beginnings of cubism as portrayed by Pablo Picasso and others. He embraced this art form before moving to Post-Impressionism.

Upon his return to Mexico in 1921, Diego Rivera began working on murals. He participated in a government sponsored program which was planned by Vasconcelos. Other prominent artists who took part in this program included David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco and Jean Charlot. In 1922, Rivera's first mural was completed. Creation was painted in Mexico City in the Bolivar Auditorium located in the National Preparatory School. That same year, Rivera helped found the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers before joining Mexico's Communist Party. The focus of his murals switched to Mexican society and the 1910 Revolution.

Rivera, while involved in these activities, developed his own style. He began painting large simplified figures using bold colors. There was an Aztec influence in his art that can be seen in murals in Cuernavaca, Mexico City and Texcoco. In 1927, Diego Rivera chose to head back overseas where he arrived in Moscow. He was asked to paint a mural in Moscow for the Red Army Club, but was ordered out of the country in 1928 due to involvement in anti-Soviet politics. As a result, he returned to Mexico. The following year the Mexican Communist Party chose to expel him. He married Frida Kahlo in August of that year and continued his work. He then accepted a commission from the American Ambassador. He was to paint murals in Cuernavaca in the Palace of Cortez.

From 1930 to 1933, Diego Rivera painted murals in a number of locations in America before returning to Mexico where he repainted an earlier mural. He returned to America one last time in 1940 to paint Pan American Unity. Mr. Rivera passed away on November 24, 1957 in Mexico City, but his works still exist today and are a great example of both social realism and the Mexican Mural Movement.

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