Van Gogh •
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Learn more about Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. From 1898-1905, he studied at the academy of San Carlos, where he
first discovered the beauty of pre-Columbian art and gained his understanding of the laws of perspective.
From 1907-1921, he traveled in Europe where he encountered such artists as Braque,
Mondrian, and their work influenced him greatly. In 1920, a visit to Italy exposed him to the murals of the Italian
painters of the quattrocentro. He envisioned a new and revolutionary public art that could help advance his revolutionary
ideals. He was appalled at the political and social conditions that greeted him when he returned to Mexico in
1921, and he vowed to fight Mexico's feudal society with his art. Through murals, he could paint a better future.
He was able to transmit these ideas to the public with dazzling force and beauty. The post-Revolutionary
Mexican government commissioned these murals, and officially recognizes his work as a national monument.
By the late 1920's, Diego Rivera had become the most sought after artist in the country. He was commissioned
to paint murals in the U.S., where his fascination with technology was revealed as his murals did not have to
deal with Mexican Nationalist ideals.
Throughout his career, Diego Rivera incorporated many diverse interests and influences into his work. His academic interests led him into various fields;
science, medicine, archaeology, social cultural and political history, philosophy, mythology and industrial technology. He was a draftsman, painter, printmaker, sculptor, illustrator, costume and set designer, and architect. He experienced and rejected traditional training and considered his European and American experiences as preparation for his post-Revolutionary murals. He had the ability to see a potential masterpiece in everything-crowds, markets, festivals, workers in shops or fields. He was able to present universal ideas using images, colors, and masterful composition, both in social and political murals, and traditional renderings of everyday Mexican culture.