- Also known as
- Diego Rivera Barrientos, Diego María Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez
- Date of birth
- Date of death
A leader of the Mexican muralist movement of the 1920s, who sought to challenge social and political iniquities, Diego Rivera often turned to indigenous themes to foster Mexican cultural pride.
After years of rigorous art training in Mexico City, he traveled throughout Europe before settling in Paris in 1912, where he befriended other emigré avant-garde artists, including Amedeo Modigliani and Piet Mondrian. Rivera enjoyed a brief but sparkling period as a Cubist painter, becoming a leading member of a group of Cubists that included Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, and Jean Metzinger. Following World War I and the Russian Revolution, Rivera, like many other artists in Paris, rejected Cubism as frivolous and inappropriate for the new age. Returning to Mexico—which itself had emerged from a decade of revolutionary struggle—he adopted monumental forms that suited the country’s new political reality and began to produce work for which he is acclaimed today: paintings, graphics, and, above all, murals depicting Mexican political and cultural life.
Although he was commissioned to paint a mural in Chicago in 1933 for the General Motors Building at the Century of Progress Exposition, a controversy over another mural resulted in negative publicity for the artist, and his commission was dismissed.