Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Although the 5th of May is the date of an important victory in the struggle for Mexican Independence, Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated by people of Mexican background in the US than it is in Mexico, as a way to celebrate their heritage and pride, says Wikipedia.

Detail, History of Mexico-Diego Rivera - Mary Ann Sullivan photo
Included in the several mentions of Cinco de Mayo I've seen today on Facebook was a link to a nice little tour of some Diego Rivera murals at the Palacio Nacional de Mexico that  depict the History of Mexico and was put together by Mary Ann Sullivan, Professor emerita of English at Bluffton University. Sullivan photographed the murals and provides insights and explanations of the different things going on in them, which is great way to understand and get more out of them, because typical of Rivera's work they are full of life and death and action and color and drama, and the celebration of Mexico and its people including its indigenous people.

The three web pages she uses to portray this particular Rivera masterpiece are part of a vast online library of art and architecture Sullivan has put together, according to Bluffton's web site, from photographs she took during her career for use in her classes. It's a thing to behold.

Anyone familiar with what's generally called New Deal Art and with the hundreds of wonderful murals in public buildings across the country, including many here in New Mexico, that were done under a project funded by the New Deal, will probably be aware of Rivera's influence on American mural painting; not just on the artists but on the architects of the New Deal itself. Rivera was already famous by then and was being commissioned to do murals in the US by private individuals like Nelson Rockefeller and by institutions such as art museums, despite his membership in the Communist party and close association with the Socialist government of post-revolutionary Mexico.

Rivera with wife and artist Frieda Kahlo


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