Mural: Class Struggle, Palacio Nacional de Mexico

Diego Rivera
signed and dated November 20, 1935--the 25th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution

When Rivera returned to his work on this monumental stairway in 1935, he acted again as social critic noting in paint that in spite of the 1910-20 Revolution, society was still characterized by class divisions

The left wall of the monumental stairway

Karl Marx has pride of place at the top of this mural holding a banner indicating the need for forming a new society and pointing to the utopian future at the left--a productive agrarian and industrial economy. Standing behind him to the right are the people, the workers. Under him are the villains--corrupt clergy, military and ruthless capitalists. The businessmen examine the ticker tape while a priest fondles a near-naked woman. Above Marx there is a rising sun--in contrast to the descending one of the opposite Quetzalcoatl mural, a sign of the luminous world to be born when following the precepts of Marx.
The U. S. businessmen above the corrupt priest are from left to right: John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Harry Sinclair, William Durant, John Pierpont Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Andrew Mellon. The panel to the right of them includes the unholy triumvirate with government, represented by Plutaraco Elfas Calles in the center, flanked by a general who seems to be on the phone and a bishop.

Top left and center right

Striking workers are being attacked (and killed) by reactionaries and fascists. (Note the Nazi symbol.) The police force supports the rich and powerful, attacking the people.

Frida Kahlo, Diego River's wife, and her sister Cristina, teachers of Marxism

Cristina, in a red dress, (with whom Rivera was having an affair at the time) holds an open copy of the Communist Manifesto.

Center and lower right

On either side of the Virgin of Guadalupe are flags of the U. S. and Mexico and under her image a machine takes in money enriching the corrupt church.

Continue to corridor murals--The Grand Tenochtitlan.

Works Consulted or Quoted:
Goldman, Shifra M. Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin American and the United States. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1994.
Luis-Martín Lozano and Juan Rafael Coronel Rivera. Diego Rivera: The Complete Murals. Taschen, 2009.
Antonio Rodríguez. Diego Rivera: Mural Painting. Mexico City: Fondo Editorial de la Plástica Mexicana, 1988.
Official guide [pamphlet] at site.

Go to Rivera Murals Index.

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© 2010 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.