A History of Mexican Mural Painting

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9780500231142: A History of Mexican Mural Painting
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Mural painting has always been the art form most characteristic of Mexico. From the prehistoric rock paintings of Sonora to the sophisticated mural art of Teotihuacan and the Maya city of Bonampak, the language of color was the means of communication of many Mexican civilizations, and writing existed only in the form of painted (or carved) hieroglyphs.

As the author of this book shows in a fascinating analysis of Aztec oral literature, the Aztecs used the names of colors as synonyms for beauty and art, and their poetry is an iridescent reflection of the lost splendor of their mural paintings. This tradition was never entirely lost after the Spanish conquest. Even after European artistic conventions had displaced the early postconquest Indian religious painters, with their remarkable capacity for adapting native style to Christian subject matter, mural decoration remained a living part of Mexican popular and religious art. It survived on the walls of remote Indian churches and of humble pulque-shops until the gradual rise of national and revolutionary movements in the nineteenth century created a demand for a committed public art.

The catalyst was the Revolution of 1910-17. Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and a host of other remarkable artists began, in the famous murals of the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, a pictorial narrative of the national story which has since been elaborated on the walls of public buildings throughout the country. The volume and variety of this mural painting, with its reflection of widely differing personalities and attitudes to Mexico's turbulent and triumphant history, have here been recorded on an epic scale. In his text, Dr. Antonia Rodriguez spans thousands of years of the history of a country which, through successive waves of invasion, exploitation and destruction, has maintained a thread of cultural identity.

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Text: English, German, Spanish (translation)

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