Mexico Muralists, 1920s-1940s
I’ve always found murals to be amazing – the time, planning and detail put into them make for such incredible pieces of art. The Mexican Mural Movement was a government-led movement from about 1920 to 1940 in which artists worked to paint murals all over the public in order to restore beauty in cities after the war. The main artists involved with this movement were Diego Rivera, Josè Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. The goal of this movement was to portray appealing political messages through art in hopes of reunifying Mexico.
Diego Rivera was already a popular artist by the time he began painting murals. One of his pieces that I find beautiful is The History of Mexico in National Palace, Mexico City, Mexico. Rivera finished this piece in 1931. The mural displays all of Mexico’s past, from the Conquest, oppression and inquisition to independence and revolution. The mural can be broken up into many different pieces that demonstrate specific times and what Mexico was experiencing then. There are so many feelings when looking at this mural due to the fact that there is so much information painted in it, both suffering and happiness. It’s truly a piece that one could spend long amounts of time viewing and analyzing.
Josè Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter who died in 1949 at the age of 76. He was a bit different from his other partners in the Mexican Mural Movement because he seemed to take a liking to human suffering in his pieces and was greatly influenced by Symbolism, while Rivera was more of the realistic type. He was also quite political and showed so in his works. His mural of Miguel Hidalgo abolishing slavery was painted in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico in 1948. This mural was certainly meant to get some emotion out of the viewer. I felt a sense of relief when looking at it knowing that soon the bands wrapped around those hands would be cut and slaves would be freed.
David Alfaro Siqueiros was a painter and muralist. By the end of his life, Siqueiros had painted thousands of square feet in murals; he often portrayed social and political changes in these works. Such strong political work and movements he had led often landed him in jail. However, despite his jail time, he was called to paint at the National Preparatory School in Mexico in 1922. This piece, Los Mitos, is his most famous. Los Mitos had a much different feel when looking at it compared to his others; this one had a much more pleasant vibe – more colors and positive images, which would be appropriate since it was in a school setting.