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Artist Diego Rivera - Interesting Facts and Information

Updated on January 8, 2013

Art By Diego Rivera

Mural by Diego Rivera - Palacio Nacional Mexico
Mural by Diego Rivera - Palacio Nacional Mexico | Source
Portrait of Diego Rivera in 1914, by Amadeo Modigliani
Portrait of Diego Rivera in 1914, by Amadeo Modigliani | Source

Diego Rivera

This hub is written to learn and share more about the artist named Diego Rivera. His full name is Maria de la Concepcion Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera Barrientos Acosta y Rodriguez. That is quite a mouthful! Many know him simply as, Diego Rivera.

Diego Rivera began enjoying art very young in life. He was three years old when the took up drawing on the walls. His twin brother Carlos had died the year before. His parents did not punish him, bur rather brought in materials for the walls in which he was free to create more works of art. Who knows what kind of long term impact that made on the mind of Rivera.

Diego was born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico on December 8, 1886. He died on November 24, 1957. He was born in a well to do family and descended from Spanish royalty on his father's side.

Diego began to study at the age of ten years old in Mexico City, at the Academy of San Carlos. The governor of the state of Veracruz evidently saw promise in Rivera, as he sponsored him to continue studying art in Europe. The name of his sponsor was Teodoro A. Dehesa Mendez. Diego's mother was a converted catholic from Judaism. She was forced to become a Catholic, and Diego was proud to say that his Jewishness was a very dominant part of his life. I thought this was interesting as he was an atheist and a communist later on.

Diego was married first to Guadalupe, or Lupe Marin. He later divorced her and married Frida Kahlo in August of 1929.

Diego Rivera in Europe

Rivera went to Europe in 1907 and studied with Eduardo Chicharro in Madrid Spain. He went on to Paris, France where he was able to live and work with many great artists. He was in Montparnasse and also at La Ruche where a friend of his, Amedeo Modigliani, did a portrait of Rivera. The portrait was done in 1914.

Pablo Picasso and others began gaining popularity around this time, and cubism in paintings was something Rivera embraced.

How Diego Rivera Discovered Cezanne

How Rivera became a fan of Cezanne is an interesting story. Evidently there was an art shop, owned by a Ambroise Vollard. In 1910, Cezanne had become much more recognized, and Vollard would put displays in his window. There is one day in particular that made a great impact and Rivera stood motionless, staring at the work of Cezanne in the window. Hours went by, and the shop owner noticed the strangeness of this event. Rivera had been taking turns standing still, then would move around while looking at the art, then crane his neck, then stand still again.

Well, this shop owner thought it odd and went to lunch. When he came back, he was more annoyed than ever as the young Diego Rivera was still standing there. Then Vollard had an idea. He took down the one painting by Cezanne, and substituted it with another of Cezanne's. Rivera was all the more interested now. For the rest of the day, until the shop closed, the owner would change the art by Cezanne for this very eager art lover. This is how Diego Rivera discovered Cezanne. Rivera was twenty three at this time.

This one day meant more to his art than any other, some say. Of course we know that as time went on, Rivera did not want to paint European, but Mexican art. So subsequent realizations also played a large role, as I am sure his philosophy had played a big part especially later on.

Diego was only one of thousands of foreign students that had traveled to France to learn the newest methods of creating art. Later, after he went back to his own country, he was deeply stirred by beginning of the revolution of 1910. He then went back to Paris for a few years and became a "cubist." He was deeply impacted by a close friendship with Picasso. However, it was the more classic paintings of Picasso that he learned the most from.

Ultimately, there were three main influences on Diego Rivera. These are Cezanne, Picasso, and Henri Rousseau. It still took some time to find himself

Diego Rivera's Painting Style

In 1923, Rivera painted the first of his famous frescoes of the Ministry of Education Building in Mexico City. By 1924 he had a mature and distinctive painting style. He became a political revolutionary as well as an internationalist, and Communist and Atheist, as I stated before. He had impact in the United States as well with his murals. His ideas were a bit more liberal in ideology than many might have liked, but his art was interesting and it began to receive more and more attention.

So Rivera came very far from the shy youth that went to Europe. Thirty years later he became legendary in the world of art. He was a man that was internationally admired though sometimes feared. He has received his share of criticism which might have deterred others along their path. He receives much praise as well, from early on until now.



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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad you discovered some more things about Diego Rivera, and I found it interesting also, the interests he had from when he was a boy, etc. Your votes and follow are appreciated!

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 

      5 years ago from United States

      All I know is that he was married to Frida Kahlo and had a volatile marriage (yet they loved each other still).

      Through this hub I discovered more of Diego Rivera, (and his interesting discovery of his idol Cezanne's paintings when he was a boy). Up and interesting, and a following as well. :)

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Dana, yes after Rivera divorced his first wife Guadalupe Marin, he did marry Frida Kahlo. Thanks for the comment.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hi Peggy, not sure how I missed that comment so long ago. Thank you for that, and glad you learned something about Diego Rivera. I love art of all kinds, and this is a very interesting artist.

    • profile image

      dana 

      5 years ago

      I love to read!!even if it's a great artist like diego rivera!!. I didn't knew that Diego Rivera was married to Frida Kahlo

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Claudia, thank you very much for your kind words. I love art, and love to share what I learn about artists with others. Your hub sounds very interesting, I will have to check it out! Thanks for your visit and comment.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Nice Hub! I created a link to it from my recently published Hub "Rivera, Orozco & David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Three Great Ones of Muralism". It is a shame that so many people haven’t heard about this amazing Mexican painter. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I knew of Diego Rivera but learned more about him by reading your hub. Thanks! Up votes!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Lisa, I am the same way! So glad you stopped by, thank you for the comment and visit. I always hope to keep learning more about about new artists all the time.

      Hello Ralph, I think Diego Rivera is such an interesting artist. The more I have seen of his art, the more I like it and think he has such a unique way of expressing himself. I appreciate your visit, and its great to know of a fellow fan of Diego Rivera.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Nice job. I'm a Diego Rivera fan.

    • profile image

      lisa.bom 

      6 years ago

      I love learning about different artists. Thanks for sharing.

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