Mexican Muralism

Mexican Muralism
Mexican Muralism

Muralism was born at a time when Marxism was in full swing. Marxist ideals were very present in Latin American countries and in Mexico in particular, which had experienced its revolution in 1910.

Thus began a process in which they wanted to bring art closer to the people, returning to indigenous, Aztec and Mayan art, leaving aside the European academicism that was the one that prevailed until that moment.

The three muralists

In 1922 the Union of Painters, Sculptors and Intellectual Workers was founded, from which the importance of the community as opposed to the individuality that had occurred in pre-Columbian America was supported, claiming the change of the bases of the Mexican economy, especially with regard to land ownership, as advocated by the 1910 revolution.

After a process in which the government increasingly supported national identity, José Vasconcelos, Secretary of Public Instruction, gave up public spaces so that artists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Siqueiros, among others, they could make murals that all people could contemplate, having a great impact on the working classes that did not have the possibility of accessing culture. Thus, in 1922, the journey of Mexican muralism began, decorating the Ministry of Education and the National Preparatory School.

Murals had a great tradition in pre-Columbian America, let us remember themurals from Teotihuacan so it is not surprising that they took up this type of art when attempting a renaissance of indigenous art. It was about instructing the people through the murals as had happened in the past.

Diego Rivera (1886-1957), had studied the Renaissance muralists in Italy, especially Giotto, who influenced him in the use of flat colors and in his narrative style. Rivera suggested shapes and volumes through the application of contrast games between light and shadow. Like his companions, he tried to capture the Mexican essence in his work.

José Clemente Orozco(1883-1949), was very committed to the Mexican revolution. Orozco can be related to the expressionist movement, in that he was not so much interested in color or form as in capturing the suffering and oppression of the people.

José David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), was very politically involved, so much so that he was imprisoned seven times. Several movements from the beginning of the century influenced his work, expressionism, as in the case of Orozco, but also futurism and surrealism. His works stood out for the intense use of color and for his use of perspective in a very intense way.

It should be added that the Mexican muralists contributed to perfecting the mural technique used in the Renaissance, since they had to find the means to adapt the technique to the weather, since in many cases the works were painted outside. They gaveaccount that oil painting or fresco could not withstand the elements and they began to develop acrylic paint that, due to its components, remained stable in the face of climatic changes and also dried quickly.

Popular topic