Diego Rivera

Art on This Day
Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera died on this day in 1957, Mexico City, Mexico. Rivera was an outspoken member of the Mexican communist party and husband to painter Frida Kahlo. Born in the 8th of December 1957 in Guanajuato, Mexico. He began drawing at the age of three, one year after the death of his twin brother Carlos. His father built him a studio with chalkboard and canvas on the walls to keep him from drawing on the walls and furniture. At the age of ten, he studied at the Academy of San Carlos, and by the age of 21 was sponsored by the governor of Veracruz to study art in Europe. While in Europe, Rivera traveled and studied in Madrid, Paris, and Italy, and befriended many of the famous artists of the time, including Amedeo Modigliani, Ilya Ehrenburg, Chaim Soutine, Max Jacob and Moise Kisling.
 
The Painter's Studio, 1954 - Diego Rivera
 
Witnessing the birth of Cubism, led by Picasso and Braque, and Post-Impressionism by Cezanne, heavily influenced the artist and enthusiastically embraced the concepts. Rivera returned to Mexico in 1921, and quickly became involved with a Mexican mural program sponsored by the Mexican government. Completing his first mural, Creation, at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City, armed with a pistol, to defend himself from right-wing students. Rivera’s paintings exemplify his unique style of large, simplified figures with bold colors, and an Aztec influence. Many of them dealt with Mexican society and the Mexican Revolution of 1910. After painting a series of murals in Mexico, Rivera’s travels brought him to the Soviet Union to take part in the anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution, and later to the United States with his wife Frida Kahlo. Rivera was a notorious womanizer, and was married five times throughout his lifetime, twice to Kahlo. His radical political beliefs, attacks on organized religion and his dealings with left-wing assassins made him a controversial figure while he alive, but the quality of his artwork surpassed his personal beliefs, and continued to be a successful painter until his death.