Diego Rivera

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Diego Rivera: “Detroit Industry”
I was very intrigued by “Detroit Industry”, a massive mural painted by Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera. The artist depicts a part of history, considering both the working conditions within a major automobile factory of the era and a glimpse of social and political issues on the enormous mural. The “Detroit Industry” mural consists of twenty-seven panels, and stretches up to twenty-two feet high and seventy-three feet wide; which took eleven months to complete. I sensed life, energy and power as Rivera accomplishes the role as an artist by making brilliant decisions and choices. After analyzing the painting, I was able to depict the real meaning and made a real connection.

The mural represents the engine and transmission production for the 1932 Ford V8 at the Ford River Rouge factory in Detroit, MI employing over 100,000 people. Diego Rivera seems to have allowed his fascination with the high production of the power of technology inspire his work. The meaning of the mural challenges society and stirs up controversy and raises issues of class and politics. Many people objected Rivera’s work as he painted workers of different races working side by side Even the commissioning of the artist caused a stir; which was financed by Henry Ford’s son, Edsel Ford. Plus the country was in the midst of the Great Depression and many questioned why a Mexican artist was chosen over an American artist. Today, a sign above the entrance of the Rivera Court reads “If we are proud of our city’s achievements, we should be proud of these paintings and not lose our heads over what Rivera is doing in Mexico today.”

The inner workings of the Detroit Industry illustrate a story of a precise and organized production factory. He makes a point by pointing out the relation between man and machines. In the two big panels, the North and South Walls, Rivera portrays the Detroit industry. In the other two, the elements that make up our industrial development....
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