The mural features prominent people in the Mexican History, including Frida Khalo, Diego’s former wife. At the center is Diego Rivera, portrayed in a silhouette of a ten-year-old boy being led by a skeleton figure (La Calavera Catrina) to critique the Mexican elite. La Catrina is also included to create the illusion of two eras of the early painting. Posada had died in 1913, but his work had a significant impact on Mexican muralists. While Diego uses rather colourful shades when creating this mural, there’s a dark side to this painting portrayed by the confrontation between a police officer and a native, a man getting shot in the face while being trampled by a horse in the midst of the crowd, which turns this dream into a nightmare.

Diego was not a Surrealist but he used this technique when he was creating Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park mural. Surrealism promoted the use of dreams to juxtapose unrelated objects like ants and clocks. Salvador Dali is credited with promoting this style where dreams were his main subject matter. Diego uses the same technique by putting together a scene composed of contrasting historical persons, including Sor Juana (the 17th century nun and a famous Mexican writer), Hernan Cortes (a Spanish conqueror who instigated the fall of Aztec Empire) and Porfirio Diaz (a dictator who spawned the Mexican Revolution). This mural was created between 1946 and 1947 after Rivera was commissioned by Carlos Obregon Santacilia, an architect. Carlos wanted a painting for Hotel del Prado located across the street. It was later moved to its museum after the hotel was rendered derelict following the 1985 earthquake.

Related Paintings

The History of Mexico - It is another mural that illustrated Mexico's history. Diego painted this piece between 1929 and 1935 to demonstrate the many struggles Mexican natives went through to fight against the French, Spanish and other dictators that controlled the country. Exploitation of Mexico by Spanish Conquistadors - In this mural, Diego shows the struggle faced by natives during the Mexican Inquisition. At the time, Mexican natives worked as slaves for the Spanish elite after they conquered Mexico on the basis of religion. Rivera uses this mural to demonstrate a native’s average day during the Inquisition.