David Alfaro Siqueiros is best remembered as one of Los Tres Grandes, along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. They pioneered the use of murals to tell epic stories of poverty, rebellion, politics and the tortured history of their native Mexico. Influenced by Marxism in his treatment of the class struggle, Siqueiros believed public murals were a powerful way for the masses to have access to his art work and political messages. The Tres Grandes, among many other artists, were part of the revolutionary change in Mexico.
The Tres Grandes were products of the "Porfiriato", the pre-revolutionary society that flourished under the 30 year dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. Diaz's administration crumbled from within in 1911 and fled to Europe. The Mexican Revolution had begun just a year before and the world of art brought forth muralism as we know it today.
The murals represented the social ideas of the revolution. The Mexican muralists painted all over the world impacting Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike. Siqueiros stated that the goal of mural painting was to, "direct itself to the native races humiliated for centuries; to the officers made into hangmen by their officers, to the peasants and workers scourged by the rich". Siqueiros believed that "art must no longer be the expression of individual satisfaction which it is today, but should aim to become a fighting educative art for all."
Siqueiros was a great influence on other artists. Mexican muralism is thought of as the only "genuine" Latin American art of the 20th century. Muralism played a primary role in the development of a national Mexican art embracing its native indigenous Indian roots and educating the poor masses of the populations.
In many ways, the variety of races and intermixing marriages brought strength and inspiration to art and inspired a whole new generation of artists around the world. The Tres Grandes were similar in that regard yet all had their own unique style...
Bibliography: 1. Lifsun, Amy, Mexican Masters, Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 2005
2. Lucie Smith, Edward, Latin American Art of the 20th Century, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2004.
3. Stein, Philip, Siqueiros: His Life and Works, New York, International Publishers, 1994.
4. Rochfort, Desmond, Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, California, Chronicle Books, 1998.
5. Emmerling, Leonhard, Pollock, Germany, Tashchen, 2003
6. Landau, Ellen G., Jackson Pollock, New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989.
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