Monday, September 1, 2014

Diego Rivera, Entry into The Mine & Exit from the Mine

                  Rivera, Entry into the Mine, 1923                     Rivera, Exit from the Mine, 1923Today I decided to do something a little bit different.  In honor of Labor Day I wanted to do a Diego Rivera painting, and once I found this pair, I decided to do both.   Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was one of the three great Mexican muralists, along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.  All three are known for infusing their work with politics and an agenda of social justice, but Rivera's work most explicitly discusses the plight of the working class at work.  These two murals were painted for the Ministry of Education in Mexico City.  Each painting makes a powerful statement about the lives of these miners, and together their impact only increases.  Entry into the Mine is a rather dark canvas, with the heavy, imposing ceiling taking up a lot of space and dictating the overall impact of the scene.  The burden and physical strain of these workers, before they have even begun the day's mining, is artfully communicated in their postures and a sense of defeat that emanates from them.  In Exit from the Mine we see a lighter scene, with a sense of the fresh air.  The worker has finally left the dark mine, but now after a (presumably) long shift he is inspected for theft.  Together these paintings speak to the degradation and oppression of the working class and the inhuman treatment these people must endure.  Rivera's simple, direct style conveys this message quite powerfully, and he gives a strong feeling of the difficult lives of these men.              

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