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Hailing all the way, from Mexico, is the story of the renowned Mexican painter Diego Rivera. His name has been, for an unknown reason, frequently misspelled in history as Diego ‘Ribera’. Born in the city called Guanajuato, Diego Rivera’s date of birth is marked as 8th of December, 1886. An interesting thing to note about this talented painter is that, he developed his flair for painting during his academic days.
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Short Diego Rivera Biography: His Early Years
From Guanajuato, Rivera’s family decided to move to the main Mexico City. At that point of time, Rivera was 10 years old. Reaching Mexico City was destined for Rivera in a way because it was in this very city where he got a scholarship from the government for continuing his studies at the Academy of Arts of San Carlos. Rivera continued his studies in this institute till 1902, when he faced expulsion from the authorities because of him participating in the students’ revolts and riots.
Various Influences on Diego Rivera for His Paintings
If we talk about the various influences on Rivera, there is small list of noteworthy people.
Diego Rivera’s First Paintings Instructor
The list of influential people includes his first instructor, Jose Guadalupe Posada and also an engraver with whom Rivera worked in his early years.
Diego Rivera’s First Painting Exhibition
After five years from being expelled from Academy of Arts of San Carlos, Rivera launched his first ever painting exhibition which was an instant success among the art lovers of the city. This display of success proved fortunate for him because he landed yet another scholarship inviting him to continue his studies in Spain at the school of San Fernando, Madrid.
After landing in Spain, Rivera obtained multiple opportunities to explore other parts of Europe and thus, he visited Belgium, England, Holland and France during the span of 1908 to 1910.
How Rivera Got Influenced by Paul Cézanne’s Artwork
Rivera fell in love with Paris and decided to stay there in the year 1911. During his trips and his settlement in Paris, Rivera got profoundly stirred by the post-impressionism school of thought and in particular he got influenced by the artwork created by Paul Cézanne.
An Overview of Diego Rivera Artwork
· Diego Rivera Cubism
Rivera showed a deep interest in post-impressionism and this interest led him to adopt other styles like cubism in his paintings. This influence showed itself to be really positive for his work because under its impact he created some of the most harmonious and brilliant paintings of his career. In 1910, Rivera even held an exhibition of his paintings based on his newly found interest. The exhibition was yet again a success in spite of the fact that Rivera was still an amateur in this newly found field of his.
· Fresco Painting
Being emotionally attached with the notion of the Mexican Revolution, Rivera expressed his artwork dipped in that sentiment as well. He always kept experimenting and seeking new tools to express his out bursting ideas. Diego Rivera chose to work with the techniques of fresco painting as well.
How Fresco Painting Works
In this particular technique, the painter paints unswervingly on to a wet mortar, which is a mix of sand and lime, and this allows the paint to get deeply entrenched in it. When the paint dries up, the painter then fixes it according to this requirement. Rivera studied fresco painting style deeply as he visited various parts of Europe in order to discover such paintings.
· Mural Technique
Another inspiration that came towards him was from an Old Italian painter, Giotto, who practiced the mural technique of painting in the time of Renaissance. The influence of Giotto was so deep on this sensitive artist that it allowed him to distinguish himself from the cubist point of view and design his own in-depth creations of the current atmosphere. He had created numerous sketches which he had decided to paint later through the knowledge he had gained via his foreign trips.
· Narrative Style
Soon enough, in 1921 when he came back to Mexico City, Rivera started to adopt a narrative style while using his paints with flat inks. He also worked for the National Preparatory School of the Mexico City at one point of time. His most famous work is the “The fecund Earth” (also called as ‘Tierra fecunda’), which he particularly created for the National School of Agriculture, Chapingo.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Rivera got married in 1929 to Frida Kahlo. His deep interest in politics and history continued to reflect his revolutionary voice in his artwork. Other amazing paintings by this remarkable artist in the form of murals are still displayed at the Cortés Palace Cuernavaca and at the National Palace of Mexico City.
Later Years of Diego Rivera
Mural paintings of Rivera became so popular that they lead him to become the principle of an art school and also led him to become a political leader as well. He remained an active member of the Communist Party from the year of 1923 to 1930. After that he joined the party once again in the year 1954 and remained a member till his death.
Rivera’s work became so much popular in the 1930’s that he had an exhibition held in New York as well. He kept on receiving frequent orders for decorating various public buildings. While performing this task, Rivera extensively made use of the fresco technique and also employed the old encaustic painting techniques.
Rivera’s New Social Style of Painting
From 1940 and onwards, Rivera felt a love for landscapes and portraits, and thus he continued to painting them. While painting them, Rivera successfully created a new Social Style of painting that became highly popular.
The Death of Diego Rivera
Rivera died on 25th of November, 1957 while he was working on a huge mural based project at the National Palace in the Mexico City.
Diego Rivera Paintings
Within his paintings, Rivera covered all the important historical moments of Mexico. He painted the Earth, the workers, the revolution, the customs, and even the popular characters of this area. He was always on the lookout for ways that could aid him in depicting his feelings to the audience. He made use of the public areas particularly well for this purpose. Rivera formulates a very significant part of the Mexican art and he will continue to remain so till time immemorial.