Monday, August 27, 2012

The Diego Rivera Museum in Guanajuato

 A visit to the Diego Rivera Museum and Casa in Guanajuato is well worth the trip.   When  my group in town for my "Meet me in San Miguel" tour, we spend part of the day over in Guanajuato and the Rivera Museum is one of our stops.
Rivera was born in 1886 in this narrow three story house in which his family lived on the first and second floor.  He lived here until the age of eight until his family moved to Mexico City.
The first floor has been re-created as it was when he was a young boy with furniture, family portraits and antiques.
Nuestra Senora de Paris - 1908 

I am intrigued by the talent he had at a young age.  Like Picasso, they both mastered the techniques of other artist.  He was influenced by the pointillism of Serat, the elongated figures of El Greco and Picasso's cubism.  He even had a close association with Picasso and Cezanne.

Different creative stages of Rivera are on display such as his formative years and his cubist period.  Portraits, landscapes, nudes, allegories, still life paintings and mural sketches are some of the pieces you will find on the second floor.

"Maestro mono, Maestro Simio, 
Desiaban que muriecen alla sobre ls hormigas,
all sobre las espinas" - 1931
(Master hand, melodic ape, die on the ants, there on the thorns)
If you had shown me this by itself, I would have never dreamed that this was the work of Rivera.  There is great series of these in one of the rooms.

  A detail the central section of Rivera's  
Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.
(Un Sueno de una tarde Dominical en La Alameda Central)

On the third floor of the museum is a smaller reproduction of this mural, a mural that Rivera is most famous for.
This 50 foot mural is set in the Alameda park, the first city park in Mexico City that was built on the grounds of an ancient Aztec market.  It highlights the three significant eras in Mexican history:  the conquest, the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship and the Revolution of 1910. 
In the center of the mural is La Calavera Catrina, the skeleton figure wearing a feathered serpent boa.  She was the creation of engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada (see my post dated July 21, 2010 to view photos of his work and read about this extraordinary artist).  The Catrina mocked the wealthy women that liked to promenade in the park.  To her right is Posada elegantly dressed in a black suit and derby hat.  To her left she is leading Rivera at the age of ten by the hand.   Frida Kahlo, in her traditional Mexican dress,  is behind Rivera with her hand resting on his shoulder as if she is protecting him as he goes forth into the world.
 Another detail of the mural.  I love the interaction between the man selling newspapers and the one selling pasties and sweets.

Another detail of the mural with two conceited dandies out for a stroll and the fancy, well-healed gentleman tipping his hat in their direction.  

I have been many times to the Museum and each visit is a real treat.

Diego Rivera Museum and Casa
Calle Positos 47
Guanajuato, Mexico
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 7:00 and Sundays from 10:00 to 3:00. 


  1. I really enjoyed that whole day: the history comments by our driver, the view from high above the city, walking the streets of Guanajuato, and especially this museum.

  2. Robin, I enjoyed reading this post and now I am looking fwd to someday visit this museum!!! :-)

  3. It is not big but full of his earlier works.