The Watermelons 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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The final artworks, as far as we can be sure, by both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were of watermelons. Rivera's version arrived in 1957 and features several succulent fruits in this still life painting.

Whilst best known as a large-scale muralist, Rivera also produced some notable smaller paintings such as the one found here. The artist was intially uninterested in depicting watermelons before being persuaded by the donor, Dolores Olmedo. She was a major aid to his career and so her opinion carried weight in his eyes, plus she also threatened to use a different artist for the commission if he turned down the request.

Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, frequently use watermelons as a symbol of the dead and therefore their inclusion here is not purely for aesthetic value, but symbolic too. This is another example of how the occassional art follower may miss the meaning of famous paintings when only browsing through an artist's work, rather than having a broader understanding of it's context.

Frida Kahlo's final painting was entitled Viva La Vida, Watermelons and came three years earlier in 1954. She was more passionate about still life painting and regularly featured this fruit in a variety of arrangements. As her health deteriorated in later life, this genre was well suited to her work from home, allowing her the time to capture each scene exactly as she wished and without any pressures of time. Kahlo finished this painting just over a week before her passing, making it's title of Viva la Vida being particularly apt.