Diego Rivera is one of the most prominent artists of the 20th century. He was born in 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico and died in 1957 in Mexico City at the age of 71 years. He started his drawing career at the age of three years. He started by painting on the walls, which prompted his parents to install chalkboards on the walls for drawing purposes. He started studying art at Academy of San Carlos at the age of ten years. This helped to mold and equip him with skills that have inspired and amazed many. Although Diego Rivera’s family were Catholics, he was an atheist and depicted this in most of his drawings. As an example, the Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda showed Ignacio Ramirez holding a picture that read that “God does not exist”.
Diego Rivera was more inspired in art when he met some of the prominent artists during those times when furthering his education in Europe. He met and interacted with Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque. This interaction influenced his paining style and started painting murals. His unique but controversial murals led to the formation of the Mexican Mural Movement. Diego Rivera has painted murals in Chapingo, Detroit, San Francisco, Cuernavaca, New York city and Mexico City. Most of Diego’s paintings are fused with political turmoil, European sophistication and heritage of his own country. Diego married four wives including Frida Kahlo, Angelina Beloff, Maria Vorobieff-Stebelska and Guadalupe Marin. Some of the major works done by Diego Rivera include Man, the controller of the universe, May day Moscow, sleep, Agrarian leader Zapata and many other paintings.
There are numerous books on the autobiography and biography of Diego Rivera. The major books that account for most of the details about his life and career include My Art, My Life: An Autobiography as written by Diego Rivera in collaboration with Gladys March, The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera as written by Betram D. Wolfe and Diego Rivera: A Retrospective as written by Cynthia Newman Helms.
The first autobiography My Art, My Life: An Autobiography, is written in the first person and is the most revealing book about the life and art work of Diego. Diego Rivera collaborated with Gladys March who was a reporter in writing the book. The book starts by narrating how Rivera started his career and its development. Throughout the text, the book centers on three major themes in Rivera’s life; sex, politics and art. The book reveals that Diego was a temperamental person which led to breakage of most of his marriages. This led to him marrying up to four wives and even remarrying Kahlo in 1940 after they had divorced in 1929. The book also sites Rivera as one of the principal figures in the formation and running of the Mexican Renaissance. Apart from that, the book sites Rivera as one of the prominent and influential artists of the 20th century. It cites led to his popularity including the man at the crossroads, the fruits of labor, and cubist landscape.
The book also presidents. As an example, the Rockefeller gives confrontations that Diego engaged in with politicians, dictators and family engaged in a series of confrontation with Rivera because of man at the crossroads painting, which depicted Vladimir Lenin, a Russian official on it. They ordered Rivera to remove Lenin’s painting from the mural but Rivera refused. The Painting had to be brought down by force and destroyed while Rivera ordered to leave. The book continues by citing Rivera’s controversial paintings that always brought discussions and confrontations between political opponents, Soviet politicians and communism party.
Apart from the first book, The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera is also another book that explicitly details all the life encounters, experiences and art of Diego Rivera. The book is based on a series of interviews conducted with his four wives, the artist, his friends, opponents and colleagues. It gives the developmental process and steps through which Diego underwent in order to be one of the most prominent 20th century artists. The book gives Diego’s encounters and experiences while in Paris, Moscow, Spain, Mexico, San Francisco and New York. In the book, Diego names Cocteau, Trotsky, Rockefeller and Picasso as his main friends and enemies.
The book also gives accounts of the disowned children of Rivera who were also interviewed to give a detailed account of their father’s character. They state that Diego was temperamental while at home and mostly at logger heads with his wives. This book continues by citing Diego as an infuriating person, delightful but always ensuring that he is fascinating in his artistic skills and abilities. The book also accounts for his fabulous life in which he was being paid as much as $3,000 per painting. As an example, the book narrates how he painted a mural for San Francisco Stock Exchange for $2,500. The book also accounts for his successful and retrospective exhibition in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art. During this exhibition, Diego had to reproduce some of his murals in portable form. This helped to ensure that Diego was able to show all his artwork at the museum.
Another book that explains Diego’s encounters in details is Diego Rivera: A Retrospective. This book starts by narrating the start of Diego’s career with illustrations of over 250 paintings and images. It details information about Diego’s studies in Spain and his life in Paris for the eleven years. The book continues by citing Diego as a painter, political activist, sculptor, printmaker and the first artist to collect and publish pre-Columbian art. He is cited as a talented man who liked offending politicians and the public through portrayal of images that sparked revolutionary themes in society. The book also cites Diego as a champion for the oppressed and the needy. Most of his paintings show human beings in need for assistance in various situations and needs.
Apart from that, this book marks the artist’s 100th anniversary since his birth and accompanied the retrospective mounted at the Detroit Institute of Arts where most of his finest murals are documented and stored. The book notes that Diego fused his Mexican style of paintings with futurist movements, cubic space, pre-Columbian sculpture and Italian renaissance frescoes. This is clearly depicted from the varying themes and scenarios presented in his paintings cityscapes, sensitive nudes, pictures on Indian women, penetrating portraits and self-portraits. This book is voted as the most complete account of all the works and life of Diego because it contains colored paintings of Diego rather than black and white paintings.
The authors and publishing press of the different books feature related images and paintings on the cover of the books. These pictures were added to add more appeal and beautify the books. Apart from that, addition of the pictures and paintings on the cover pages helps readers to understand more the context of the books. The discussion on the various paintings is as given below.
The book My Art, My Life: An Autobiography features the Mural Sueno de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central in which Rivera and Frida Kahlo are standing by the La Calavera Catrina. This painting was painted between 1946 and 1947 and depicts famous people passing in the Alameda central park. The picture has many things on top of their heads, things that each one of them desires. The major people depicted in the painting include Jose Marti, Victoriano Huerta, Manuel Gutierrez Najera, Winfield Scott, Herna Cortes, Maximilian of Mexico, Juana Ines des la Cruz, Portirio Diaz, Francisco Madero and Ignacio Manuel Altamirano. The focus of the painting is to show the values and complacency that was present before the occurrence of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
The picture depicts Rivera dressed in a broad brimmed hat, a black suit and holding a walking stick. The same picture also depicts Kahlo dressed in a long dress and having a mask decorated with flowers. In addition to this, she has a long flower surrounding her neck and running to her knees. The picture shows that Rivera was a lover of events and occasions. It also shows that Rivera liked socializing and intermingling with famous people and colleagues. It also shows that Rivera loved Kahlo because he is holding her hand together with his side by side. The picture also shows that Rivera liked black suits because he painted most of his images wearing a black suit. The painting emphasizes a timeline of events in the history of Mexico and thus is not politically affiliated.
Image 1: Showing the Sueno de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central
The book The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera features the Self-portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat painting, which depicts Rivera as a young man with a black broad brimmed hat, sitting on a chair and holding a smoking pipe. He has a black suit and beer in a bottle as well as in a half full glass. The beer is in front of him on a small table; a show that he was in a celebrating or relaxation mood. The picture was painted in 1907 and depicts Rivera in a seductive, calm but pensive mood. From the painting, it is evident that Rivera cherished broad brimmed hats. This is because he painted himself wearing the hat in most of his self-portrait paintings. The painting also shows that Rivera liked drinking and smoking during his personal and resting times. The picture also shows that Rivera was a calm but pensive person. This character enabled him to think and picture many different scenarios in daily life, which he painted for all people to see. The painting shows a personal account of how he spend his personal time and how he celebrated in times of joy. It emphasizes a timeline of his life events and, therefore, it is not politically affiliated.
Image 2: Showing the Self-portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat
The book Diego Rivera: A Retrospective has the painting Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita on the cover page. The painting depicts a man carrying a load of white flowers and followed by a number of women carrying red flowers. In addition to that, the picture depicts three women with braided hair kneeling in front of the flower man holding the red flowers in their arms. This picture was painted in 1931 and shows the events of the flower festival. From Diego’s account, this picture was drawn to show his love for the events and culture of the Mexican community. He states that he was always thrilled with the crowds of women carrying flowers headed to the marketplaces. He states their dressing code, the color of their clothes and the manner in which they conducted their activities always amazed him. This paintings was thus draw to depict his childhood memories during the flower festivals.
This painting shows that Rivera was a lover of events and occasions. This is mainly because he shows the flower festival with huge masses of women and girls carrying flowers and dressed in colorful dresses and robes. It also shows that Rivera cherished the Mexican culture and way of life. This is because he states that he is always thrilled with the way women and young girls carried flowers to the marketplaces. The image also shows that Rivera highly cherished his people. This is because he shows the events, culture and dressing codes of the Mexican community in the painting. The painting emphasizes a timeline of events in the Mexican community and, therefore, is not politically affiliated.
Image 3: Showing the Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita
A comparison of the textual information with the paintings on the cover pages is essential in determining if the author of the book chose the right image that is coherent with the content of the book. The book My Art, My Life: An Autobiography gives an account of all the events and episodes in Rivera’s life. It highlights the major friends, enemies, colleagues and relatives that were dearest to Rivera. The painting Sueno de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central that is featured on the cover page clearly depicts these information. It shows the major friends, family and colleagues with whom Rivera dined and celebrated his fortunes together. It also shows that Rivera was a lover of events and celebrations. The painting also shows the people’s desires at the top of their heads hence giving an overall view of the people’s culture, their likes and values. From this analysis, it is evident that the author of the book chose the right painting for the cover page. This is because the painting is in sync with the content of the book on Rivera’s artistic styles and personal life. The author finalizes the book by stating that Rivera was one of the most talented, influential and controversial Mexican artist. He is also one of the most prominent artists of the 20th century.
The book The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera exactly portrays information presented on the Self-portrait with Broad-Brimmed Hat painting. The book gives the extravagant and luxurious life of Rivera during his trips and life in Paris, Mexico, New York, San Francisco and Spain. The book also gives the major friends, enemies, opponents and family of Rivera. This information is correct according to the painting on the cover page, which shows Rivera as a young man drinking and smoking while seated at a small table. This image is a complete portrayal of an extravagant and fun-filled life. It is a show that Rivera liked drinking and smoking during his personal times.
From this analysis, it is evident that the book’s content, the book’s title and the painting on its cover page are in sync. The portrait shows a young man who is thrilled by a fabulous and fun-filled life. The calm but seductive manner in which Rivera poses in the photo also shows that he leads a fabulous life. This enabled him to marry up to four wives in his lifetime and had several children. In general, the author states that Rivera was a successful and influential artist who lived a fabulous and extravagant life.
The accounts of the book Diego Rivera: A Retrospective are in line with the message in the painting Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita. The book is voted as the most explicit of the life events and artistic skills of Rivera. The book explains the events in Rivera’s life with image exhibits to emphasize the message passed across. As an example the start of his career and early life is explained using more than 250 images. It highlights the progress in Rivera’s life in a retrospective manner. The painting on the cover page is also retrospective in nature as it highlights the events that occurred in Rivera’s life during his childhood. It shows the events and activities in the flower festivals which occurred during his childhood. The image also shows Mexican culture and values hence giving Rivera’s values and cultural beliefs.
The contents of the book are in sync with the painting because they are all retrospective in nature. They are also in sync because they show Rivera’s culture, background and values. The presence of the painting on the cover page of the book helps the reader to better understand the contents of the book. In general, the author of the book states that Rivera was a talented artist who portrayed his culture, values and life experiences through his drawings.
In conclusion, it is evident that Diego Rivera is one is the most influential and prominent artists of the 20th century. The start of his artistic talent at a tender age is a show that his talent was inborn rather than acquired. Rivera used his talent to show his community’s culture, values, events and activities. He also used his talent to pass across an account of his own life during the different trips around the world, events, celebrations and activities in his life. Rivera was able to fuse together Italian renaissance frescoes, pre-Columbian sculpture, cubic space, and futuristic movements, which enabled him to present attractive and diverse paintings. He was successful in painting self-portraits, penetrating portraits, sensitive nudes, pictures of Indian women, cityscapes and pictures of various events and occasions during his lifetime. From his paintings, it is also clear that Rivera was a champion of the poor and oppressed in the society. He used his skills to communicate his political position, his cultural beliefs and personal events and situations in life. From the above discussion, it is evident that Rivera was a talented artist. It is also evident that he loved an extravagant and fabulous life. As such, there is need to continue his art works and use them as a showcase for future artists and art leaners.