| Rivera, Diego Biography
Mexican painter who produced murals on social themes, and who ranks as one of his country's greatest artists. Diego Rivera was born in Guanajuato and educated at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts, Mexico City. He studied painting in Europe between 1907 and 1921, becoming familiar with the innovative cubist forms of the French painter Paul Cezanne and of Pablo Picasso. In 1921 Diego Rivera returned to Mexico and took a prominent part in the revival of mural painting initiated by artists and sponsored by the government. Believing that art should serve the working people and be readily available to them, he concentrated on painting large frescoes, concerning the history and social problems of Mexico, on the walls of public buildings.
Diego Rivera was an active member of the Mexican Communist Party, and in 1927-1928 he taught in Moscow. After his return to Mexico he painted murals in the National Palace, Mexico City (1929), and the Palace of Cortes, Cuernavaca (1930). In 1929 Diego Rivera married Frida Kahlo. He was influenced by her art work, and included her portrait in many of his murals. Rivera also executed several works in the United States, including a mural (1932-1933) for the Detroit Institute of Arts. A fresco (1933) commissioned for the new RCA building in Rockefeller Center, New York City, was ordered destroyed shortly after its completion because it included a portrait of the Soviet leader Lenin.
Greatly influenced by indigenous Mexican art, Diego Rivera's murals are simple and bold in design. They are effective as social comment, having aroused much controversy among political and religious groups in both the U.S. and Mexico.
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