Mural: The Tarascan or Purepechan culture of Michoacan, Palacio Nacional de Mexico

Diego Rivera

A highly developed culture

This scene depicts a number of important cultural developments. In the background fishermen use butterfly nets, Indians harvest cotton as well as cochineal from nopal cactus to produce the red dye; in the middle ground, a large building with a complex roof is being raised and immediately behind it, miners extract coal from the side of a cliff. In the foreground dyers tint cloth and hang it to dry while artists paint a topographic map as another elaborately dressed and tattooed standing figure holds up a beautiful codex. Volcanoes and Lake Patzcuaro are in the distance.

Grisailles underneath the polychrone panel

From left to right: dying with the purple snail; sculptors and ceramicists; tattooing

Continue to page 6: The Zapotec Civilization.

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.

Go to the Mexico 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.