The History of Mexico (Mural) by Diego Rivera is a mural in the National Palace in Mexico, the headquarters of the government, the mural depicts the whole of Mexico's history from ancient days to the present day.
The Mural was created from 1929 to 1935, and shows the struggles of Mexico against the French, Spanish, and other invaders, from the point of view of the Mexican people. The mural was a part of a government sponsored project, designed to justify the Mexican revolution which occured not long before, and also to promote the current government of the time and the new life they promised to Mexico. Diego Rivera was one of Mexico's most famous artists, and had studied in Europe and specialised in Murals, Portraits and Cubism, his biggest mural was 1000 square feet, but as a rebel against government and authority, his appointment to create the History of Mexico Mural was a surprise to some. Rivera didn't work alone on the mural but was accompanied by a team of respected artists.
The History of Mexico Mural covers stairwells and staircases and three walls, the North, South and West Walls, and the depictions are extremely large, up to 70 metres by 9 metres. The North Wall depicts the ancient Aztec people and their culture, craft and way of life in ancient Mexico. The West Wall which is the main wall of the mural, shows the history of Mexico in conflicts, revolutions and wars, showing how Mexico developed though these things. The wall shows great detail regarding the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the treatment of Mexicans and Indians. It also depicts traitors, Indians who supported the Spanish. The South Wall shows Mexico's bright future, with industry, education, prosperity and socialist teachings.
The mural as a whole is intricate and dramatic, and is supposed to indicate long awaited victory and a bright future after the Mexican Revolution, it is a message from the new government of the time that the bad past is behind and now Mexico can face its new dawn while also acknowledging its rich cultural past and foundations and the struggles that brought Mexico thus far. The mural depicts many people involved in the history and revolution of Mexico, including the wife of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, who he was engaged to at the time of painting. It is thought she is depicted as a future teacher of communism to the future Mexico.
Tom Gurney in an art history expert. He received a BSc (Hons) degree from Salford University, UK, and has also studied famous artists and art movements for over 20 years. Tom has also published a number of books related to art history and continues to contribute to a number of different art websites. You can read more on Tom Gurney here.