Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886. When he was 6 years old, his family moved to Mexico City. Diego loved to draw, so his father made a studio for him by covering the walls with black canvas so he could draw on them with chalk. At age 10, he enrolled in night classes at an art school, but he was expelled for participating in revolts. At 16, he started his career as a painter.
He traveled to europe in 1909, where he was exposed to different kinds of art and artists. He settled in Paris, where he painted in the style of the Cubists (like Picasso), with large areas of color and simple forms. He became interested in the works of the renaissance artists and the fresco style of painting (paint on wet plaster). Rivera liked this kind of art because it could be painted on a wall (a mural) and made available to everyone to see.
In 1922, he joined the mexican communist party. His murals used bold colors and simplified figures. They told stories about revolution and politics, reflecting Rivera’s own radical political ideas. His mural for the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City consisted of 124 frescoes, it took 6 years to complete. En el Arsenal (1928)
Rivera’s mural at the National Palace in Mexico City shows images of Mexico’s history
Mural depicting Mexico’s history at the National Palace in Mexico City
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera In 1929, Rivera was expelled from the Mexican Communist party. In that year, he also married art student Frida Kahlo (his 3rd wife) – he was 42, she was 22. Invited to the United States by an architect in San Francisco and painted murals for the San Francisco Stock Exchange and the California School for Fine Art. He was then invited to Detroit where Edsel Ford hired him to paint a mural at his Ford Motor Plant.
Because of his political views, some of his murals were not accepted by the people. This one, which included the face of Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin was painted for Rockefeller Center in New York. Rivera was asked to remove the face of lenin but refused. Nelson Rockefeller told him to stop painting, paid him in full, and covered it up. Rivera and his assistants returned late at night and destroyed the mural with axes. Man at the Crossroads (1933) Close up of face of Lenin
Tomb of diego rivera in the Rotunda of Illustrious persons inside the Panteón Dolores When cancer and a stroke left his right arm paralyzed, he continued to paint with his left hand. He died of heart failure in 1957 at the age of 71.