“To be an artist, one must never shirk from the truth as he understands it, never withdraw from life.” ~Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera (pronunciation) was one of the most significant Mexican artists of the 20th century. He is best known for his large-scale murals which depict Mexican history and culture.
Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico (pronunciation) on December 8, 1886. His mother was a seamstress and his father was a schoolteacher. As a child, Rivera showed an early interest in art, and he began studying at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City when he was just 10 years old.
In 1907, Rivera moved to Europe where he experienced exposure to the work of great masters such as Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya. The Cubist movement was sweeping the Continent at that time, and also influenced Diego Rivera.
Rivera returned to Mexico in 1921, and he soon began to make a name for himself with his bold, large-scale murals. Out of his many murals, the most famous is “The Pan-American Unity”, which he completed in 1940. This massive work covers an entire wall of the San Francisco Art Institute and is a colorful, chaotic depiction of the history and cultures of the Americas.
Rivera was also a well-known political figure in Mexico, and he was an outspoken critic of the Mexican government. In his paintings, you see a depiction of the lives of Mexican people and the Socialist messages.
Diego had tumultuous relationships in his life, being married to the famous Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, for a time. Afterward, he married twice more.
Unfortunately, he began to lose his eyesight in the 1950s and was unable to paint. Rivera died in 1957 at the age of 70, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most important Mexican artists of the 20th century. His vibrant murals can be seen all over Mexico and in other parts of the world.