The Muralist Painters of Mexico

Mural painting is one of the oldest and most important forms of artistic, political and social expression. Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros revived this form of painting in Mexico. Their murals were based on the political and social conditions of the times. During the beginning of the 20th century, Mexico went through a political and social revolution and the government began to commission a number of huge frescos to celebrate its achievements. The muralist movement would not only have great effect on their own country but the rest of the world as well.
Thefirst modern artists from a Hispanic country in the Western Hemisphere whose art attracted worldwide attention were these painters known as Mexican muralists. The best known of the Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera filled the walls of public buildings in Mexico and the United States with enormous murals praising social revolution. David Alfaro Siqueiros was another of the great Mexican muralists, and also very active with the political revolutions of his country. José Clemente Orozco was the third famous muralist and is thought to be more crude and cynical than Rivera and his pictorial language may be less sophisticated, but he is more direct in pointing out social injustices.
During thefirst two decades of the 20th century, Spanish modernists introduced Latin American painters to impressionism, postimpressionism, symbolism and art nouveau. Mexican painter Saturnino Herran used symbolism in his mural project, Our Gods, (1904-18) which nobly posed native Mexicans as powerful symbols of Mexican identify. His mural served as a model for many large-scale murals that were commissioned in the 1920s. The Mexican Revolution (1910-20) also found a voice in the public mural. Diego Rivera as well as others defined this moment in Mexican history. He was influenced by European modernism, studying in Spain and Paris and working …