Diego Rivera is considered the father of Mexican mural art and the father of modern political art in Mexico. Diego reinterpreted Mexican history from a revolutionary and nationalistic point of view. Not only did Diego expressed powerful ideas in his murals, but he also applied the tools he learned with modernist techniques. More than any other artist, Diego Rivera provided models for incorporating cultural past and ethnic identity into an alternative modernist vision, one that provided for a responsible fusion of the social and the aesthetic. Diego was an important personality in the art world of the 20th century and his thoughts were well respected in the art community. He was an innovator in expressing his ideals unifying art and politics.
Diego Maria de la Rivera y Barrientos and his twin brother Carlos were born on December 13, 1886 in Leon, Guanajuato. Carlos died in 1888, which left Diego as an only child. Since he was very young (he begins to draw at the age of three), he loved to paint, so much that his father covered a room of their house in Guanajuato with paper so that the child could paint all over the walls. Diego says that it was in that room where he created his first murals.
In 1896, while he was still in high-school, he entered the Academy of San Carlos. He was so obviously talented that in 1906, after his first show, he was granted a four year scholarship from the governor of Veracruz, Teodoro Dahesa, to continue his studies in Europe. In 1907 he goes to Spain, where he promptly becomes part of the intellectual circles. After studying there for two years he moves to Paris and starts living with Angelina Beloff.
Angelina Belloff was a Russian emigre artist. Diego met her in Spain among the artistic circles. Diego and Angelina had a son but due to an flu epidemic the child died in the fall of 1918. Diego had many lovers, among them was Marvena, another Russian woman. Diego and Marvena had a child named Marika right after the death of Angelina’s baby. Diego precisely describes his relationship with Angelina when he says “She gave me everything a woman can give to a man. In return, she received from me all the heartache and misery that a man can inflict upon a woman” In June of 1921 Rivera left Belloff in Paris and goes to Mexico, saying that once he is established he will send for Angelina. He never doe…
… communist ideas through his paintings and in some way, this made him a symbol for communism. For this reason all his actions would be closely watched by the party. The communist party was very anti-government and Diego’s commissions were mostly government-funded, which made him a doubtful communist. In September of 1926 he was expelled from the Mexican communist party for having accepted to be the director of the San Carlos Academy of Art. (He was granted this job by the government). Even though he tried many times, he was never accepted back into the party.
Frida dies on July 13 of 1954. This marks the start of Diego’s own death. In 1955 he is diagnosed with cancer but he keeps working on his murals. On July 29th, almost a year after Frida’s death he marries Emma Hurtado, his agent since 1946. He is hospitalized in Russia and recovers completely from cancer. However, in September of the same year he suffers a blood clot and phlebitis, which paralyzes his right arm. He keeps working in some paintings and in decorating the house of his friend Dolores Olmedo. On November 24th of 1957 Diego Rivera dies of heart failure in his San Angel studio and wills his art to the Mexican Nation.