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Feliz Cumpleaños, Diego Rivera

Photo by: Vasenka @flickr

As anyone who has seen today’s colorful, Mexican-inspired Google banner may have noticed, December 8, 2011, marks the 125th birthday anniversary of legendary Mexican painter Deigo Rivera.

Rivera was an artist of unusual proportions. Born in Guanajuato in 1885, Diego was privileged enough as a young boy to study art at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. On a sponsorship from the governor of Veracruz in 1907, Rivera continued his studies in Europe where he was influenced by the work of such famous artists as Picasso, Cezanne and Matisse. Eventually, his time in Europe led him to Italy, where he studied frescoes of the Renaissance.

With his discovery of the fresco (mural paintings done on plaster,) Rivera believed that he had finally found the right medium to match his deep political and social convictions. Returning to Mexico in 1921, he set about championing the causes of everyday Mexican citizens with giant mural paintings in which he tackled grandiose themes of technology and human progress.

Throughout his career, he remained committed to producing work that was very accessible to the eyes and hearts of everyday people. As a PBS “American Masters” profile on his work aptly states, he is remembered today as “The greatest Mexican painter of the 20th century.”

by: Erik Keithley