The Life and Contributions of Diego Rivera, a Prominent Mexican Painter

You know famous paintings of famous artist like Pablo Picasso, but do you not know about famous artists that contribute to society. This famous artist is Diego Maria de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, was born in 1886 in Guanajuato City, Mexico. He contributed too many countries, for example Mexico, France, and Spain. He became friends with famous artist to. Well thanks to Mrs. Sarmiento it was exciting researching about Diego Rivera.

The thing that made it exciting was that I never knew that he was or ever imagine that he was an important artist. I also never knew that Diego Rivera took a big part of Mexico when it came to art. Now that I know all about Diego Rivera I think it’s your turn to know all about this outstanding artist.

Diego Rivera and his twin brother Carlos were introduced to this world on December 8 1886 in Guanajuato Mexico. He was raised by a well off family.

Less than two years later his twin died. His mom came from Jews who later became involved in the Roman Catholic Church, and his dad was from Spanish. Diego’s parents were Diego Rivera and Maria Barrientos de Rivera. His father worked as a teacher, an editor for a newspaper, and a health inspector. His mother was a doctor. His passion of art started in an early age and his very first drawing was when he was only three years old.

His father soon built him a studio with canvas-covered walls and art supplies prevent Diego from drawing on the walls and furniture in the house.

Get quality help now
Doctor Jennifer

Proficient in: Abstract Art

5 (893)

“ Thank you so much for accepting my assignment the night before it was due. I look forward to working with you moving forward ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

As a child, Rivera was interested in trains and machines and was nicknamed “the engineer”. He soon studied art at San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. His instructors were Andrés Ríos Félix Para, Santiago Rebull, and José Maria Velasco. Para showed Diego Mexican art that was different from the European art he like to draw. Rebull taught him that a good drawing was the base of a good painting. Velasco taught Rivera how to create three-dimensional effects. As an early age he was influenced by an artist called Jose Pasda who ran a printing shop near his school.

In 1902 Rivera was expelled from the academy for leading a student protest when Porfirio Díaz was reelected president of Mexico. Under Diaz’s command, those who disagreed with government policies faced harassment, imprisonment, and even death. There were no laws to protect the rights of workers. After Rivera was expelled, he traveled throughout Mexico painting and drawing. Even though he continued to work on his art in Mexico he always dreamed of studying in Europe. Finally all thanks to Teodora A. Dehesa the governor of Veracruz, Mexico, had sponsored him to continue studying in Europe.

But how did this happen? Well Teodora was into art and was known for funding artists, and he heard about Rivera’s talent and agreed to pay for his studies in Europe. In 1907 Rivera went to Madrid, Spain, where he worked in the studio of Eduardo Chicharro. Then in 1909 he moved to Paris, France where he was influenced by outstanding painters, especially Pierre- Auguste Renoir.

Later he worked in a postimpressionist style inspired by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Amedeo Modigliani. According to the dictionary postimpressionist is, “a late-nineteenth-century development in French painting, arising out of Impressionism, in which artists further rejected naturalism to study perceptual subtleties or the expressive dynamics in a subject, often through strong color and bold form.” Or in other words Post-impressionism was a type of art that focus on the style of vivid colors.

As Rivera continued his travels in Europe, he experimented more with his techniques and styles of painting. In those years, Paris was witnessing the beginning of cubism paintings by such incredible painters such as Pablo Picasso and George Braque. *cubism is a type of abstract art usually based on shapes or objects rather than pictures or scenes. Some of his paintings had pieces that were based on Mexican themes. Because of this type of style Rivera began to attract people and was even able to display some of his art work at several exhibitions.

After working with Picasso for a few years he left Paris when the First World War started and went to Madrid Spain to introduce cubism. In 1921 he finally went back to his homeland. After returning back to Mexico he found a job in the new revolutionary government. He began to express his artistic ideas in Mexico; with the help of the government he was able to create different murals of the country’s people and history.

Diego Rivera achieved many goals in Mexico that made him famous. His very first achievement was in 1922 when he was able to participate in the founding of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors. Later that year he joined the Mexican Communist Party. This was a big achievement because in Mexico it was a big thing if you were part of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors. In the autumn of 1922, Diego Developed his own native style based on large simple figures and bold colors with an Aztec, this was his first completed mural at Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City.

This mural was created over one whole year and coved over a thousand square feet. This mural basically represented how everything was made. In this mural the figures were over twelve feet high. At the top there was a symbol that represented the Divine Trinity with blessing hands. In Egypt this symbol was interpreted the creative suns. At the bottom of the mural it showed Adam and Eve.

Over them on both sides were the nine Muses. *The nine Muses were a sisterhood of spirits who ruled over the arts and inspired the creative process. They were daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, and goddess of memory. And on top of them was the Christians Victuals. On the left were love, hope and faith and on the right side was, prudence, justice and strength. In the sky there was Wisdom and Science.

As the years went by he was able to created outstanding murals that represented the history and the people of Mexico. His favorite part about creating murals was that he was able to collaborate with people. But Diego Rivera always got in trouble in many ways. In the autumn of 1927, Diego arrived in Moscow, accepting an invitation to take part in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution.

He was supposed to paint a mural for the Red Army Club in Moscow, but in 1928 he was ordered to leave Moscow, because he was involved in anti-Soviet politics, so he had to go back to Mexico. But it got even worst in the following year for Diego Rivera. In 1929 he was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party. Later that year he divorced Guadalupe (Lupe) Marin, and married Frida Kahlo. One of his famous murals was, “In the Arsenal”

Well mostly all Diego’s art told a story, but many were based on Mexican society, Mexican Revolution, or were based on social and political beliefs. In the Arsenal it was based on a Corrido, a popular type of song in Mexico. The word Corrido was located in the red band on the top of the mural. But the main attraction or purpose for this mural was for Frida who became Rivera’s wife. In this mural it shows Frida handing out weapons to revolutionary soldiers. To the far left was a person named Siqueiros.

To the right another person named Tina Modottiwith and her lover Julio Antonio Mella. Mella was a Cuban revolutionary who fought the Cuban dictator Machado. A few years later Mello was shot dead while walking in the street arm-in-arm with Tina. Tina was accused of having hired the killer because she was said to have become tired of Mella. She was held by the police. But thanks to the influence of Rivera she was freed.

The person with the black hat looking at Tina was Vittorio Vidali. He became Tina’s lover after Mella’s death. There were some statements that Vidali was the one who killed Mella. According to the article Diego Rivera Biography, “The figures in the painting are an illustration of Rivera’s transferring his political beliefs onto canvas. He was an active member of the Mexican communist party, and was friends with Leon Trotsky, who lived with him for seven months.”

In 1930 Diego was invited to the United States, where he painted several paintings and of cores murals. After arriving to San Francisco in November, he painted a mural called the Stock Exchange. He created many murals in the United States, but with his luck some of them created controversy, especially the one he did for the Rockefellers family in the RCA building. Nelson Rockefellers famously ordered the demolition of “Man at the Crossroad.” This mural featured a portrait of Russian Communist Leader Vladimir Lenin. He added Lenin in his mural, but was largely defined as a threat and there was a big conflict between him and the Rockets family. The Rockefellers disliked Diego’s way of adding Lenin and in a mean way asked Diego to remove the mural, but he ended up disagreeing.

The Rockefellers ended up stopping Diego from working on the mural. Later on John D. Rockefeller J.R later attempted to explain the destruction of the mural saying, “The picture was obscene and, in the judgment of Rockefeller Center, an off good taste. It was for this reason primarily that Rockefellers Center decided to destroy it.”

After what happen he went back to Mexico and continued making more famous murals in Mexico. Later on he did not have any more jobs so it was hard for him to continue. In 1954 he lost his wife Frida, but then the following year he married Emma Hurtado, his art dealer. By his age he had a lot of problems, especially when he receives cancer, but doctors could not cure him. In November 24, 1957, in Mexico City this outstanding artist died.

In conclusion Diego Rivera contributes too many countries but especially to Mexico, his homeland. After Diego Rivera’s death Mexico considered him as the greatest Mexican Muralist. His fascinated art style was very important in the United States because it influenced many people. It even influence Franklin Roosevelt, because of this Mexican artist he inspired Roosevelt to create art programs.

For my opinion Mexico was very lucky to have an artist who inspired everyone with his fascinating paintings and especially his murals. In the beginning of this project I thought that Diego Rivera was going to be a famous person with boring background. But now I learned about him I funded him interesting. The thing that I like about him was that he was always working. Even though he traveled a lot he was still able to learn the countries society, revolution and culture and create beautiful murals. I admire him for his outstanding works but also for always working hard and not going to different countries for vacation, but for being able to work. I would like to thank you for reading this essay and I hope you learned about Diego Rivera, and I especially hope I did not put you to sleep!

Cite this page

The Life and Contributions of Diego Rivera, a Prominent Mexican Painter. (2023, Mar 16). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7