Homeworks academic writing service


The history and important influence of the mexican muralist movement

Mexican Muralism First Things First. The Mexican mural movement, or Mexican muralism, began as a government-funded form of public art—specifically, large-scale wall paintings in civic buildings—in the wake of the Mexican Revolution 1910—20. The Revolution was a massive civil war helmed by a number of factions with charismatic leaders—Francisco Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata, to name a few—all of whom had very specific political and social agendas.

After the Revolution, then, the government took on the very difficult project of transforming a divided Mexico of maderistas, carrancistas, villistas, zapatistas, and so on, into a coherent nation of mexicanos. To do so, it needed to create an official history of Mexico in which its citizens would find themselves, and it needed a medium that could propagate this to a largely poor, illiterate populace.

Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

While the mural project employed a host of artists from across the country, the influence and prominence of Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros was so great that it makes sense to limit a discussion of muralism largely to them for an introductory lecture on the topic.

Each had a different personality, ideology, style, and sphere of influence, and a well-developed survey on Mexican muralism can be taught through their works. This unit is an excellent opportunity to talk about the ways that artistic representation expresses cultural values: Stemming from a 1921 manifesto written by Siqueiros, muralism was pitched as an art of social and political engagement.

VTechWorks

Muralism provides a chance to talk about the intersection of art and politics, which may seem commonplace to your students now, but was widely debated throughout the twentieth century. What is the goal of art? To what extent is art supposed to be autonomous and separated from everyday life? Does art that has a function cross the line from art to propaganda, or is there a hazier area between the two that is explored in works like these?

Another major theme to discuss is the value of public art in society.

Mexican Muralism

What does public art accomplish? If muralism is monumental and public, how are its conditions different than small, private works of art that are made for consumption by the art market and institutions like museums? Background readings on Mexican muralism may also provide an opportunity to discuss the theme of art and politics. Chronicle Books, 1998 falls into the first category: A Critical History Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012 also provides shorter thematic essays that cover the main three and also give an idea of how muralism evolved past 1940, until and beyond the death of last remaining grande Siqueiros in 1974.

Each of the muralists also spent some amount of time in the 1920s and 30s in the United States, and their art and politics possessed a decidedly different value when marshalled outside of the Mexican governmental apparatus.

Linsley discusses art and censorship while deftly avoiding the sensational tone with which the event had been discussed for the previous sixty years, focusing on what was actually in the painting and what information Rivera encoded there. Any of these would serve as straightforward, coherent texts to assign to students as fodder for discussion, and each work is included in the Content Suggestions below. As for web resources, Renee McGarry and Ananda Cohen Suarez who authored the Art of the Americas before 1300 lecture for AHTR host the extremely useful Latin America Visualized website, which features links to museums with significant Latin American collections, to prominent libraries and online archives for Latin American sources, and—more specifically—to those dealing directly with Latin American art.

The main questions for this lecture are: How are the values and history of post-Revolutionary Mexico reflected in muralism? How can the political be expressed most effectively through artistic means? In an hour and fifteen minutes, these questions can be investigated through many paintings and comparisons, including: Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel, c.

Raphael, Sistene Madonna, 1512—4. Picasso, Seated Nude, 1909—10. Vasconcelos chose the artists but gave them a great deal of autonomy regarding style and subject matter. However, these works are still pivotal to the mural project.

  • These large-scale paintings graced the walls of centuries-old colonial buildings, prestigious schools and national offices, as they depicted indigenous Mexican culture, the fighting and the outcome of the Revolution, the mixed-race mestizo identity and all things related to traditions of Latin America and Mesoamerica;
  • Diego Rivera Of the three great ones, Diego Rivera was perhaps the most famous, and the most traditional artist.

Despite the early influence of the Italian Renaissance, each of the main three painters was also well-versed in modern currents in art: Thus, though muralism was a national project, the work of these three artists gave Mexico—which had previously been viewed as something of a cultural backwater—an internationally recognized movement with a unique contribution to twentieth-century modernism.

The cruciform posing of the middle figure, reminiscent of the martyred Christ, indicates that this revolutionary is dying; the anonymity suggested by his covered face allows the viewer to mourn all victims of the Mexican Revolution, whatever their allegiance.

Though this structure may seem difficult to grasp at first to your students, you may point out that composition is a difficult issue in the construction of a monumental work. Siqueiros, for example, would argue that the laws of composing a mural differed drastically from those governing a small easel work, and that most mural failures were the result of improper planning done by artists who treated a mural simply as they would a much larger easel painting.

The three arches in which History of Mexico resides added an additional obstacle to its realization, and—rather than clumsily trying to unite the three—Rivera cleverly chose to place three different events from three different time periods in the arches, emphasizing the tripartite structure in a manner that further suggests the three vertical stripes of the Mexican flag.

Another approach to large-scale mural composition is seen in the work of Siqueiros, who was perhaps the most technically, compositionally, and politically radical of the three. Siqueiros contributed many ideas to the mural movement, but he is best known for his claim that revolutionary art required revolutionary techniques and materials. This led to a rejection of the traditional fresco techniques used by the other muralists—which required five-hundred-year-old techniques and materials popularized during the Italian Renaissance—and an emphasis on using new technological and chemical advances in his work.

Mexican Muralism

The swirling nude female bodies that seem to swim through Plastic Exercise were created through several means. First, they are painted on concave walls, a situation to which Siqueiros had to adjust his composition.

Owing to talks Siqueiros had with Sergei Eisenstein while the Soviet filmmaker was in Mexico in 1931, he accomplished Plastic Exercise through the use of electric image projectors, casting sketches onto the concave walls and then tracing compositional lines. This was also among the first images he painted with pyroxyline, a chemical lacquer used to paint automobiles that Siqueiros would later apply to walls using a commercial spray gun.

  1. A Critical History Berkeley.
  2. To help your students understand how the perspective works, you can show them the intense diagramming Siqueiros undertook with projectors to compose this massive undertaking see Slideshow below. University of California Press, also provides shorter thematic essays that cover the main three and also give an idea of how muralism evolved past , until and beyond the death of last remaining grande Siqueiros in
  3. During the s, sociological factors caused that not only the art, but also the political ideologies of the Mexican artists to spread across the United States.
  4. Mexican Muralism First Things First Mexican muralism also helped the creation of the Chicano movement , established by Mexican-American artists in the s who wanted to form their own aesthetics in the country and to illustrate their own struggles and social issues.

Though he was the only grande to enhance his work through the use of technology, Siqueiros was among a host of painters in the early twentieth century who showed a fascination with and belief in technological progress as a means toward creating a better world.

Though this idea was soured for many by the atrocities of World War I, certain artists and intellectuals still held to the belief that technology could ultimately be an agent of positive progress. As each of the three muralists traveled to the wealthier United States to make murals in the 1930s, the advanced industry in the U. As a political message, this would connect urban factory workers with rural agricultural producers on the basis of their work and social class. It also stands as a potential tongue-in-cheek warning by the artist that the machine should not be taken as such a panacea that it becomes an object of worship.

On the surface, John D.

All You Need to Know About Mexican Muralism and Muralists

While the myriad bits of information embedded in Man at the Crossroads could be teased out—and, as with many of these murals, an entire lecture could easily be taught on this one painting alone—its significance today may lie more in its censorship on political grounds, and the contact that it has with critical issues surrounding the commissioning and display of public art.

Orozco saw greater success for his murals in the United States, possibly because they tended to be done under the auspices of academic institutions that had a greater stake in protecting intellectual property. In the scene Modern Migration of the Spirit, Christ is depicted having destroyed his cross, standing proudly and powerfully before the heaped-up symbols of political and religious ideologies.

During the talks, Siqueiros spoke to the need for technological advances in art making. It was in this momentary haven under the specter of Fascism that he created the smaller, non-mural works Collective Suicide and Echo of a Scream, and both show his continued commitment to modern technology in art.

He also used a stencil and spray gun to create the Aztec and Spanish figures.

  • To what extent is art supposed to be autonomous and separated from everyday life?
  • The Depression provided the environment for a public art of social content, as well as a context that allowed some American artists to accept and follow the Marxist ideologies of the Mexican artists;
  • If muralism is monumental and public, how are its conditions different than small, private works of art that are made for consumption by the art market and institutions like museums?
  • This unit is an excellent opportunity to talk about the ways that artistic representation expresses cultural values;
  • Coinciding, initially, with similar propagandist campaigns in the Soviet Union, it was and remains one of the few nationwide political art movements to occur in the West, inspiring others like the Chicano Mural Movement.

Notably, the future Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock was among the students at the workshop, and his dripping of paint stems directly from the freedom of experimentation promoted by Siqueiros. By removing the child from that context, Siqueiros created an image of the universal suffering caused by war and imperialism.

Mural – The Characteristics and Significance

This metallic sheen connects it to the shiny metal surrounding it, showing the dehumanizing effect of war and imperialism. To help your students understand how the perspective works, you can show them the intense diagramming Siqueiros undertook with projectors to compose this massive undertaking see Slideshow below.

The mural itself is a condemnation of Fascism, which—in the Marxist mindset—is the last resort of capitalism. Thus, Siqueiros and his mural team painted images indicating connections between money, oppression, imperialism, war, and the manipulation of the masses with an armed figure of resistance arising notably, along the same path as the stair-climbing spectator to put an end to these injustices.

This is where one can speak of the possibility of freedom of choice in relation to Dive Bomber and Tank. In Mexico, a definite shift to the right of the political spectrum would also create an unwelcome situation for their championing of art and leftist politics.

This is why many surveys of Mexican muralism—and this survey lecture—end at 1940, though you should stress to your students that this should not be taken as a dismissal of later muralism, as the movement continued at least until the death of Siqueiros in 1974, and potentially beyond. The mural form has been taken up, for example, by Chicano artists in the United States since the 1970s and 80s, and continues to be used as a vehicle for radical politics today.

At the End of Class. The need to condense a fifty-year movement that provided work for hundreds of Mexican painters limited this lecture to three pivotal figures. You could have your students choose from a list of lesser-known Mexican muralists and write a short paper detailing some of their works and their contribution to the movement: Roosevelt modeled this idea on the example of Mexican muralism.

Another option in an American classroom is to use the www.

  • Siqueiros, for example, would argue that the laws of composing a mural differed drastically from those governing a small easel work, and that most mural failures were the result of improper planning done by artists who treated a mural simply as they would a much larger easel painting;
  • The mural itself is a condemnation of Fascism, which—in the Marxist mindset—is the last resort of capitalism;
  • Siqueiros contributed many ideas to the mural movement, but he is best known for his claim that revolutionary art required revolutionary techniques and materials.

Do they share techniques? Do they share subject matter? Is there evidence that the WPA artists were aware of the visual styles of the Mexicans, and could you point to any possible influence? Beth Harris and Dr.