Diego Rivera Prints

Diego Rivera Prints

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Diego Rivera Influences

Diego Rivera continues to be one of Mexico’s favorite artists and historical figures. He is perhaps best known for creating murals in fresco and starting the Mexican Mural Renaissance.

Who and what were the Diego Rivera influences during his career? Rivera’s ties to the major artists of the Cubist and Impressionist movement affected his style, while his love for his country and his political convictions guided his brush in his creation of masterpieces. See Diego Rivera's full biography here.

Flower Festival-: Feast of Santa Anita Flower FestivalEarly Influences
After his art school education in Mexico, Rivera was urged to move to Europe and continue to develop his talent and abilities. He studied in Paris, France, where he held a front-row seat to the emergence of the Cubist movement.

Rivera studied with Ilya Ehrenburg, Chaim Soutine, Max Jacob, Amadeo Modigliani and his wife Jeanne Hébuterne. This close circle of artist-friends shaped and influenced his work from 1907 to 1914, which similarities are especially apparent in Rivera’s pieces of that period.

Shortly thereafter, Rivera developed a deep admiration for Cubist artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. His style changed as he adopted the common characteristics of the Cubist movement such as depth of field and realistic portrayal of light.

Some would say that master Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne was the strongest of the Diego Rivera influences. From 1917 onward, Rivera became enthralled with the vibrant colors, simple shapes, and thick paint application to real-life subjects that characterized Post-Impressionism.

In 1920, Rivera returned to his country of Mexico. But before returning home, he traveled through Italy and studied the work of many Renaissance fresco masters, such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Viewing their accomplishments first-hand had a significant impact on Rivera. It led him to combine his two main passions: the Post-Impressionistic use of simple shapes and vibrant colors to represent realist subjects, and the application of paint to walls to create textured frescoes. Thus, the Mexican Mural Renaissance was born.

Aztec Influences
In an effort to give his work a genuine Mexican flavor, Rivera studied Aztec painting and portraiture, another one of the Diego Rivera influences. While viewing any one of his hundreds of murals, you will note a specific and unmistakable Aztec feel in the geometric shapes and use of colors. Perhaps the most significant impact the Aztecs had on Rivera was the idea that a mural should tell a story rather than simply present an image.

Political Influences
One of the most important Diego Rivera influences was not art per say, but rather politics. In 1922, Rivera joined the Mexican Communist Party and became a hardcore political activist. Consequently, the subject material of his artistic work, during this period, tends to reflect working-class scenes and society as a whole. He was intent on producing paintings that sent political messages to the public.
Late Influences

After 1924, Rivera went to Moscow in order to connect with the Communist Party. Soon after, he was accused of plotting against the party and was evicted from the Soviet Union. During this emotional period in his life, he married famous artist Frida Kahlo and soon adopted much of her style. Eventually, Rivera became less political and more casual. His late murals feature distorted human shapes, geometrical patterns, and a slight touch of the surreal.

The Whole of Rivera’s Work
Diego Rivera influences are varied and numerous, proving the extent of his talent and abilities to alter his style. From Picasso and Cezanne to Da Vinci, and from the Aztecs to politics, and then to Kahlo, the artist’s influences were combined in perfect harmony to create the unique blend that is the Diego Rivera mural. Mexico literally has hundreds of walls displaying his intricate and vibrant work, and his talents helped shape a Mexican art movement that was lacking in internationally significant figures. Like all great artists, Rivera found a unique way to combine his visual and intellectual passions in order to create a new vision.


This article was written by Betty Botis
Betty Botis is an avid art collector and fan of all Diego Rivera's art. She is also a freelance writer for Diego Rivera Prints.



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