Diego Rivera Prints

Written by Serena Berger
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Diego Rivera prints capture the artist's conviction to represent everything in art, exactly as it was seen in life. Rivera's works are not typically beautiful, though paintings like Mother's Helper or Nude with Calla Lilies are certainly lovely. Rather, Diego Rivera prints present an honest and unflinching look at the lives of people struggling in his country and all over the world.

Diego Rivera Prints for the Working Class

Rivera's favorite medium was fresco, or mural paintings done on fresh plaster. In addition to favoring the techniques and tools of fresco painting, Rivera also liked the fact that his works could exist on a grand scale and be incorporated into the daily lives of everyone around him, as many were painted on the sides of public buildings. As a Marxist, Rivera felt that galleries and museums catered to the bourgeois, while frescos were an art form for every man. In the modern age, Diego Rivera prints take this mentality of making art available to anyone and everyone to its technologically-facilitated conclusion.

Several of Rivera's most important works are political frescos, as both he and his third wife, Frida Kahlo, were highly politically active. After creating a mural in 1932 paying tribute to American workers at the behest of Henry Ford, Diego Rivera was hired by the Rockefellers to paint a mural in Radio City in the Rockefeller Center. To be called Man at the Crossroads, this fresco was supposed to depict the social, political, industrial, and scientific possibilities of the twentieth century. Rivera accepted the commission, and proceeded to paint a portrait of Lenin into the mural. The Rockefellers had it chipped off the wall, and Rivera ultimately repainted several versions of it elsewhere. 1934's Man, Controller of the Universe, in Mexico City was the work that Rivera felt most closely depicted his positions. The sense of violence and agitation is palpable, a powerful reminder of Rivera's call to arms.

Women, as well as workers, were popular subjects in Diego Rivera prints. While some are more politically charged than others, Rivera always captured the vitality of his subjects. He did not glamorize aspects of their nature, but rather sought to draw out the beauty inherent in their figures and their actions.


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