Portrait of Sra Dona Elena Flores de Carrillo Diego Rivera Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Portrait of Sra Dona Elena Flores de Carrillo is a painting by Diego Rivera which dates from 1953. It now resides within a private collection and is one of the artist's most famous works within this genre.

The lady reclines on a bed, with her head resting on her right hand, with her elbow bent across a pillow. Her left arm then by contrast lies across the other side of her body. She is wearing a long yellow dress with red high heeled shoes. The sheets across the bed are a similar tone of bright yellow, helping to deliver a really colourful and positive colour scheme to this piece which is entirely typical of Mexican art more generally. She sports a slightly cheeky smile, perhaps suggesting that the artist is well acquainted with this woman. Sra Dona Elena Flores de Carrillo also wears a pretty necklace and her hair is short but tidy. The surrounding walls of the room are decorated in green, but with varying tones of yellow within that, which provides a further consistency in colour across the painting. At the very back of the work is a vase with red flowers and also a portrait of a young child, presumably the lady's daughter.

In the foreground we find a flat bowl or tray which is full of a variety of fruits. Diego Rivera would regularly capture local fruits within his paintings and appreciated many elements of this content, such as the colours that they brought to his work, but also some of the symbolic meanings that they could add, such as a feeling of good health and happiness. The room is fairly cramped, but this may have been the artist just tweaking the layout in order to fit more into the artwork. The few details that we have on this Portrait of Sra Dona Elena Flores de Carrillo are that it resides today within a private collection, to the best of our knowledge, and that the painting itself is sized at 221.5cm wide, but 140cm tall, making it relatively large for a portrait such as this. Rivera completed the artwork in 1953, by which time he would have been around sixty seven years of age.

Diego Rivera would bring Mexican life to a western audience through a variety of paintings which included bright, upbeat portraits such as this. He was a true extrovert and could not go anywhere without socially interacting with people that he came across, particularly attractive women. As his reputation soared, it would also be relatively easy for him to convince people to sit for him too, with most seeing it as quite an honour to be painted by such a respected artist. He would also often capture local people going about their daily lives in more natural depictions, such as Nude with Calla Lilies and The Flower Carrier. Even with the international fame that came about later in life, Rivera would never lose touch with the poorer elements of society within Mexico.