Painting, like speaking and writing, is a way to express ideas and feelings. The artist employs lines, colors, shapes, and arrangements to convey his or her impressions.
My unit will attempt through the works of Diego Rivera to describe as well as to assist in interpreting the murals of this prolific genius. To better depict and comprehend the fecundity of Rivera, I have done a study of his ancestry and background. Concurrently, it is most important to be aware of his sources of inspiration while relating it to the history of the times in which he lived.
Diego Rivera’s life is fascinating. His experiences and his “joie de vivre” will entice the learner. His murals will inspire and motivate the novice with his idyllic and lyrical portrayal of pre-Conquest Mexico.
This unit proposes to teach the culture and history of Mexico through Rivera’s art. Rivera used real facts of archaeological discovery and history and he penetrated deeply into them. But at the same time, he used his own creativity to elaborate on them. Thus, it is sometimes extremely difficult to determine fact from exaggeration.
The unit also includes a study of this artist’s life, loves; as well as philosophy. Diego had early communist training. He states that in the Colegio del Padre Antonio, there was only one teacher that he held in high esteem; and that was a French teacher by the name of Ledoyen who had been a former officer of the French army and a communist. Of his infinite number of love affairs, only four had any semblance of durability. He was not a monogamous man not even while married. It was simply contrary to his nature as well as to his culture.
Some of the murals that should be studied are: The
Legend of Quetzalcoatl
(My 1984 unit on
could be used. It has an adapted skit on Quetzalcoatl. ),
The American Intervention
The Constitution of
The War for Mexican Independence
The Revolution of Madero
The Execution of Emperor Maximiliano
The Struggles of the Classes
The Grand Tenochtitlan
The Tárascan Civilization and the Civilization of Corn
The Cocao Bean
The Arrival of Hernán Cortés at Veracruz on April 22, 1519
A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Park
Man at the Crossroads
The Catastrophe of the World
The Fair on All Souls’ Day
This curriculum can be used to teach an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) class or more appropriately to a history and/or Spanish class. It can also be used in an art class.
In order to stimulate through the senses, we should implement the use of slides on Rivera’s masterpieces as well as any other visual aid. Students should be encouraged to give oral and written reports on specific murals in the target language in order to provide further growth and understanding of the subject.