José Diego María Rivera, Mexican
Image: 16 1/4 × 13 1/8 inches (41.3 × 33.4 cm) Sheet: 17 1/16 × 14 inches (43.4 × 35.5 cm)
Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1976
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About This Print
Diego Rivera created this print of revolutionary leader and land-reform champion Emiliano Zapata in 1932, twelve years after the end of the Mexican Revolution. Dressed in simple white peasant clothing, Zapata and his horse stand over the lifeless figure of a soldier. The farm workers for whose cause he fought gather behind him. In contrast to the soldier’s sword, Zapata and his followers carry farming tools as weapons, showing their close ties to the land.
About This Artist
Diego Rivera (1886–1957) was born in Mexico to parents of European and Mexican ancestry. Because of his amazing drawing ability, he was accepted to the Academia de San Carlos, a prestigious art school in Mexico City, at the age of twelve. When Rivera was twenty-one, he received a government scholarship to travel in Spain and France. There he met leading modern artists, including Pablo Picasso, and learned to paint in the Cubist style that was popular in Europe.
In 1921 Rivera returned home. He and other Mexican artists began to look to pre-Columbian artifacts (made before the arrival of Columbus to the Americas) and native folk art for inspiration, hoping to create works that were uniquely Mexican. Rivera also became a leading figure of the Mexican mural projects, a government initiative that sought to teach Mexicans about their history and culture through large-scale public murals.
About Emiliano Zapata
Though not born into a poor family, the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919) identified with the injustices suffered by Mexican farmers and field-workers and spent his life trying to better their situation. Zapata and his army, the Zapatistas, fought to redistribute lands held by a few wealthy owners to needy farmers and farm workers.
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