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A Mexican Painter And His Inspiration

By Darren Hartley

Huge wall paintings in fresco are the Diego Rivera paintings. The establishment of the Mexican Mural Renaissance is what they are known for. Three characteristics of Diego Rivera are his being a world famous painter, active communist and husband to Frida Kahlo.

Cubism was the initial focus of Diego Rivera paintings. With their simple forms and large patches of colors, they began to shift towards Post-Impressionism, a shift inspired by the Paul Cezanne paintings. As they began to attract the attention of their viewing public, they were ultimately displayed at a number of painting exhibitions.

The first mural of note amongst the Diego Rivera paintings was entitled Creation. It was experimentally painted in encaustic in 1922. Other murals painted by Diego were done purely in fresco. Reflecting the Mexican revolution of 1910, they focused on the Mexican society.

Beginning in September, 1922, the Diego Rivera paintings featured a development of a native style based on large, simplified figures and colors with an Aztec influence.

In The Arsenal, a mural by Diego, is a perfect example of how Diego Rivera paintings tell stories. The mural shows Tina Modotti with an ammunition belt on hand, faced to faced with Julio Antonio Mella, in a light hat. Behind Modotti was Vittorio Vidale, in a black hat. Based on this painting, viewers believed that Diego had knowledge of Vidale's plan to murder Mella.

Detroit Industry, a series of 27 fresco panels, consisted the Diego Rivera paintings between 1932 and 1933. Containing a Vladimir Lenin portrait was a Diego Rivera mural in 1933 entitled Man at the Crossroads. This particular mural was retitled Man, Controller of the Universe, after it was repainted in 1934.

Laying the foundations for the transition from the artistic endeavour conception of the 19th century to a new and radically different work of art of the 20th century were the Cezanne paintings. In short, Cezanne paintings were the bridge between the 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century Cubism.

Paul Cezanne was often referred to as the Father of Modern Art. He is a French artist and a Post-Impressionist painter. There was a mastery of design, color, composition and draftsmanship present in Cezanne paintings. These featured brushstrokes that are repetitive, sensitive and exploratory. This feature is highly characteristic and clearly recognizable as works by Cezanne.

Building up to the formation of complex fields are the planes of color and small brushstrokes presented in Cezanne paintings. The sensations of the observing eye as well as the abstractions from observed nature are directly expressed in these paintings. Other than conveying Paul's intense study of his subjects, they also show Paul's searching gaze and his struggle in dealing with the intricacies of human visual perception.

Cezanne paintings strove to develop an ideal synthesis of naturalistic representation, personal expression and abstract pictorial order. The early Cezanne paintings were painted in dark tones applied with heavy, fluid pigment. They suggested the moody and romantic expressionism of previous generations.

Gradually, Cezanne paintings transfigured into a commitment to contemporary life representation. Without concern for thematic idealization and stylistic affection, they presented the world on the basis of Paul's own observation of it.

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