Ann Keller's Reviews > Rivera

Rivera by Andrea Kettenmann
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Jan 14, 12

bookshelves: art
Read in January, 2012

Artist Diego Rivera was born at the end of the nineteenth century and grew up in a time when the world was changing by leaps and bounds. He was repeatedly caught up in political intrigue around the world and featured some of these revolutionaries in his painting. Rivera also embraced a rare dedication to realism in his work.

Rivera painted the everyday man with honor and respect. In his hands, the peasant woman nursing her child, the worker chiseling at a wall, woman carrying baskets of fruit to market, nun working in the vines, men and women gathering corn in a field or celebrating a feast all became great works of art.

Rivera’s painting of the Great City of Tenochtitlan is stunning. Painted in 1945, this impressive work shows the market place of the Aztec city, alight with the colors of the day. Other frescoes painted in San Francisco highlight the promises of wealth in the new world.

Diego Rivera’s painting reflects the time at which he lived, filled with contrast and progress. Color and light evolve from the stylized portraits of the Flemish masters to grid composition and finally to the realistic style that we embrace today.

While reading this book, I learned a lot about art, but also much about the times in which Diego Rivera lived. These were difficult years, an era filled with peril, strife and hardship as the world swirled with Socialism and Communism. Factions fought against each other in brutal power struggles, often catching the innocent in a vice of destruction. Yet, through his splendid paintings, frescoes and line drawings, the man who was Diego Rivera lives on, something that all of us can appreciate.
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