Often times, artists are inspired by something
or someone which goes on to shape their future
endeavors. The same can be said for Diego Rivera,
who was inspired by several people at an early
While attending San Carlos Academy as a full-time
student, Rivera would often stop by a little
shop nearby. The owner, Jose Posada, was Rivera’s
first influence. Many famous Mexican artists
of the 19th Century were teachers at San Carlos;
however, Rivera maintained that he learned about
the art of his own country from Posada. Posada
owned a small printing shop and Rivera would
habitually stop by and watch him work on his
prints and drawings. Rivera admired his work
immensely and went on to say that his paintings
were so full of life and energy that they might
jump off the page at any moment.
Rivera’s other major influences would
come in 1907, when he moved to Spain to study
with Spanish painter Chicharro for two years
and spent the next fourteen years of his life
in Europe. He encountered the works of such
artists as Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and Matisse.
Rivera was looking for a new style of painting
that could express the intricacies of every-day-life
yet still reach a wide audience. A lifelong
friendship with Elie Faure prompted him to go
to Italy to study the masters.
It was in Italy that he discovered his medium,
are mural paintings done on fresh plaster. The
unique aspect of frescoes is that the paint
is applied directly on a wet mixture of sand
and lime in order to help the color penetrate
and adhere when the mixture dried.
While he found himself caught up in his search
for mew truths, he felt cubism was too intellectual.
He said it was more concerned with technical
skill rather than the natural fluidity of design.
And although this was the reason cubism gradually
disappeared from his work, he still maintained
some techniques of the art in his later works.