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Firing Squad

A work made of linocut in black on cream wove paper.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

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  • A work made of linocut in black on cream wove paper.

Date:

1950

Artist:

Leopoldo Méndez
Mexican, 1902-1969

About this artwork

Méndez created this linoleum-block print (or linocut) to serve as the backdrop for the credits to the feature-length film One Day of Life (1950), by the renowned Mexican director Emilio Fernández. Illustrating a key scene in this story of the Mexican Revolution, a dignified peasant martyr faces the firing squad, a theme of popular resistance favored by the Taller de Gráfica Popular and reminiscent of both European and Mexican artistic precedents. Méndez further heightened the impact of the monumental full-screen projection by using a dramatic, filmic close-up of the protagonist that places the viewer in the position of executioner.

This print is an example of the workshop’s signature style in linocut, the Taller’s preferred medium after World War II. Characterized by Méndez’s flowing, intricately interwoven carving, with its subtle tonal and sculptural effects, this approach deeply influenced the collective’s many new artists.

Español:
Méndez creó este grabado en linóleo (o linograbado) como fondo para los créditos de la película Un día de vida (1950) del renombrado director mexicano Emilio Fernández. La imagen ilustra una escena clave de esta narración sobre la Revolución Mexicana, cuando un campesino martirizado se enfrenta dignamente a un pelotón de fusilamiento. Se trata de un tema de la resistencia popular favorecido por el Taller de Gráfica Popular y que evoca antecedentes artísticos tanto europeos como mexicanos. Méndez amplía aún más el impacto de la proyección monumental sobre la gran pantalla haciendo uso de un dramático acercamiento cinematográfico sobre el protagonista (en close-up), y colocando así al espectador en la posición del verdugo.

Este grabado es un ejemplo del estilo característico del Taller en linograbados, la técnica preferida tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Caracterizado por el tallado intrincado y entrelazado, pero con movimiento, de Méndez, con sus efectos tonales sutiles y esculturales, este enfoque influyó profundamente en los nuevos artistas que se sumaron al taller.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Leopoldo Méndez

Title

Firing Squad

Place

Mexico (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1950

Medium

Linocut in black on cream wove paper

Dimensions

Image: 30.5 × 42 cm (12 1/16 × 16 9/16 in.); Sheet: 43.8 × 54.6 cm (17 1/4 × 21 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection

Reference Number

2013.883

Copyright

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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