His tempestuous affair and marriages with fellow artist Frida Kahlo, scandalous lifestyle and controversial communist politics are all reflected in many of his paintings. They were also immortalized in Selma Hayek’s movie project “Frida” (in which she also starred).
But today, Diego Rivera is also celebrated and revered in his homeland as one of Mexico’s foremost 20th century artists – perhaps the best-known member of its trio of great muralists.
Quick art history quiz:
Who are the other two great Mexican muralists?
- Jose Clemente Orozco
- Diego Alfaro Siqueros
Diego’s birthplace in Guanajuato
Diego was born in Guanajuato, one of Mexico’s most charming colonial towns. Guanajuato has several excellent museums (including the famous Mummy Museum with over 100 mummies). The home where Diego was born is also open to the public as a museum. And if you’re an art lover, it’s a must to visit.
In typical style, the tall narrow house has a central courtyard and fountain. Its first floor rooms feature furnishings of that era, including the brass bed Diego was born in.
Art on display at the Diego Rivera Museum Guanajuato
Over 175 original water colors, sketches of his murals and oil paintings are on display on the upper floors.
There’s even a black-and-white nude sketch of Diego’s lover Frida.
They represent various stages of his artistic life, including his Cubism training.
A collection of imaginative works by contemporary Mexican artists, found in a new glass and stone building connected to Diego’s birth home, is an additional treat. (We were unable to take photos of Diego’s art works, but we could snap photos of other artists’ pieces.)
Coffee after… and a singing cowboy!
After we visited the Diego Rivera Museum, we stopped at an outdoor café by the ornate Juarez Theater (or Teatro Juarez) – another must-see site in Guanajuato.
As we sipped our drinks – limonade for Janice (made from fresh-squeezed lemon juice and soda water) and cappuccino for George – we were serenaded by an senior singing cowboy strumming his guitar.
For a tip of course…
Lead image by David Ludwig