Advanced

Mexican Mural Movement. Myths and Mythmakers

Sampaio Amaro, Fernando LU (2004)
Abstract
The aim of this study of the Mexican Mural Movement is to analyze the myths it expressed and the myths it produced. The two main characters of my study are the minister José Vasconcelos and the painter Diego Rivera, because I believe these two personalities are indispensable for an understanding of the myths surrounding the Mexican Mural Movement. While the painter is well known, the personality and work of José Vasconcelos has not received the recognition they deserve. I try to analyze and comprehend the context in which the movement began and to find explanations for the generalizations and myths associated with Mexican Muralism. The myths about Mexican Muralism are articulated at diverse levels. Many commentators equate Muralism... (More)
The aim of this study of the Mexican Mural Movement is to analyze the myths it expressed and the myths it produced. The two main characters of my study are the minister José Vasconcelos and the painter Diego Rivera, because I believe these two personalities are indispensable for an understanding of the myths surrounding the Mexican Mural Movement. While the painter is well known, the personality and work of José Vasconcelos has not received the recognition they deserve. I try to analyze and comprehend the context in which the movement began and to find explanations for the generalizations and myths associated with Mexican Muralism. The myths about Mexican Muralism are articulated at diverse levels. Many commentators equate Muralism directly with the Mexican Revolution. In this vision Mexican Mural Movement was a result and, at the same time, a kind of mirror of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, that it was essentially a social-realist art, epic and didactic, that had had the historical and revolutionary past as background. Another idea, frequently expressed, is that of the ideological continuity between the pre-Hispanic past and the Mexican Revolution. In my research to understand Mexican mythology as it appeared in the murals and to identify the structural logic and the instrumental aspects of those myths, I came to the conclusion that the mythological idea of Mexico was built and developed in the sub-conscious of Mexicans over the centuries after the conquest. Starting from 1921, it became visible in the painted walls, which helped to form a sort of collective memory. This construction or visual myth, the painted Mexicanidad, functions as a rationalization of the problems and traumas deriving from the process of the Conquest, since all kinds of problems and conflicts seems to be solved in the murals, which also provide hope of a rebirth for the martyred Mexican race. Rivera’s Muralism shows a people and a Revolution that never existed. He promoted representations of a utopian reality, very different from the reality existing away from the walls. However, resistant to all attempts at deconstruction, the murals are there and with their existence testify to another kind of “truth.” There exists a perception about Mexican Muralism, more or less widespread, in which Mexico and Mexican Muralism are populated entirely by heroes and villains, and this perception in turn increases the myths about it. This perception is largely based on popular culture, in the mass media and in particular in North American movies, as in the case of the recent film Frida. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Ph.D. da Cruz, Pedro, The Museum of Sketches, Lund University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
History and Arts, revolution, mexicanidad, Vasconcelos, Rivera, Historia och konstvetenskap
pages
607 pages
publisher
Fernando Amaro, Rua Miguel Bombarda, Bloco B, 5° dt° mar, 8000-394 FARO, Portugal,
defense location
Department of Art History and Musicology, auditorium 314, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund
defense date
2004-02-28 10:00
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c0d826ab-60ef-4744-b612-1d2ca4b3d6ad (old id 21601)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 11:28:03
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:13
@phdthesis{c0d826ab-60ef-4744-b612-1d2ca4b3d6ad,
  abstract     = {The aim of this study of the Mexican Mural Movement is to analyze the myths it expressed and the myths it produced. The two main characters of my study are the minister José Vasconcelos and the painter Diego Rivera, because I believe these two personalities are indispensable for an understanding of the myths surrounding the Mexican Mural Movement. While the painter is well known, the personality and work of José Vasconcelos has not received the recognition they deserve. I try to analyze and comprehend the context in which the movement began and to find explanations for the generalizations and myths associated with Mexican Muralism. The myths about Mexican Muralism are articulated at diverse levels. Many commentators equate Muralism directly with the Mexican Revolution. In this vision Mexican Mural Movement was a result and, at the same time, a kind of mirror of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, that it was essentially a social-realist art, epic and didactic, that had had the historical and revolutionary past as background. Another idea, frequently expressed, is that of the ideological continuity between the pre-Hispanic past and the Mexican Revolution. In my research to understand Mexican mythology as it appeared in the murals and to identify the structural logic and the instrumental aspects of those myths, I came to the conclusion that the mythological idea of Mexico was built and developed in the sub-conscious of Mexicans over the centuries after the conquest. Starting from 1921, it became visible in the painted walls, which helped to form a sort of collective memory. This construction or visual myth, the painted Mexicanidad, functions as a rationalization of the problems and traumas deriving from the process of the Conquest, since all kinds of problems and conflicts seems to be solved in the murals, which also provide hope of a rebirth for the martyred Mexican race. Rivera’s Muralism shows a people and a Revolution that never existed. He promoted representations of a utopian reality, very different from the reality existing away from the walls. However, resistant to all attempts at deconstruction, the murals are there and with their existence testify to another kind of “truth.” There exists a perception about Mexican Muralism, more or less widespread, in which Mexico and Mexican Muralism are populated entirely by heroes and villains, and this perception in turn increases the myths about it. This perception is largely based on popular culture, in the mass media and in particular in North American movies, as in the case of the recent film Frida.},
  author       = {Sampaio Amaro, Fernando},
  keyword      = {History and Arts,revolution,mexicanidad,Vasconcelos,Rivera,Historia och konstvetenskap},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {607},
  publisher    = {Fernando Amaro, Rua Miguel Bombarda, Bloco B, 5° dt° mar, 8000-394 FARO, Portugal,},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Mexican Mural Movement. Myths and Mythmakers},
  year         = {2004},
}