Mexican Muralism: social communication tool from revolutionary times

It is well known that art is a communication tool, and famed Mexican muralism is a great example of this, since its origin dates back to the times of revolution, of social and political movements, oppression and resistance; where the images of great artists communicated more than mere messages, their artwork portrayed theirs social vision and national identity.

By Notimex Saturday, October 10, 2015 comments

Art at the service of the people

 

It is well known that art is a communication tool, and famed Mexican muralism is a great example of this, since its origin dates back to the times of revolution, of social and political movements, oppression and resistance; where the images of great artists communicated more than mere messages, their artwork portrayed theirs social vision and national identity.

 

Mural painting in Mexico begun since 1910, but the movement of Mexican muralism formally began in the 20’s, having its most important years from 1921 to 1954; it extended through three stages where it maintained the artists’ common interest to capture their own social vision of the national identity.

 

Diego Rivera mural by Wolfgang Sauber

 

The first stage of Mexican muralism happened during the presidency of Álvaro Obregón, with José Vasconcelos in the Secretary of Public Education, and encouraged a cultural and educational project, this involved mural painting in different spaces, such as the mural “El árbol de la vida” by Roberto Montenegro painted at the former Colegio Máximo de San Pedro y San Pablo. The first stage the main themes where related to nature, science and metaphysics.

 

From 1934 to 1940 where the years for the second stage of Mexican muralism, this phase was more about reflection, as a result of the political context of the country. During this stage, the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists was established, it was focused on maintaining muralism, and the art was committed to the working and peasant people.

 

José Clemente Orozco Mural

 

A nationalist and revolutionary discourse was the inspiration behind the muralism on its third stage; young artists where influenced by the revolution and took art as a way to unite people and get their messages of a post-revolutionary Mexico out there for everyone to see, specially on the walls of important and public buildings, which caused great impact taking the artistic movement to its peak.

 

At this point even the private sector started asking muralist artists to paint in their buildings, such as hotels, banks, although the revolutionary aspects where sometimes omitted, focusing on more general matters, but the social and political commitment, as well as highlighting the old Mexico was still the main focus of this art.

 

Some of the Mexican muralism art is found in the inside walls of the Palace of Fine Arts, these are works of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo, who are the most representative artists of Mexican Muralism.