Sketches and Finished Murals by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera made large preparatory drawings, which served as drafts for the final murals.. Placed alongside the panels they inspired, the exuberant charcoal sketches he called “cartoons” reveal how Rivera translated his broad strokes into the final scenes.
Diego Rivera had some success as a Cubist painter in Europe, but the course of world events would strongly change the style and subject of his work. Inspired by the political ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1914-15) and the Russian Revolution (1917), Rivera wanted to make art that reflected the lives of the working class and native peoples of Mexico. He developed an interest in making murals during a trip to Italy, finding inspiration in the Renaissance frescos there.
Returning to Mexico, Rivera began to express his artistic ideas about Mexico. He received funding from the government to create a series of murals about the country’s people and its history on the walls of public buildings. In 1922, Rivera completed the first of the murals at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City.