Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Diego Rivera in San Francisco


When I was in San Francisco last month, I visited the San Francisco Art Institute to look at the Diego Rivera mural. It's on the wall of a building which is used as a student exhibition space. The photo above is a panorama of the barn-like interior, with the mural on the left and a show of student work in the rest of the space.

The mural was commissioned in the 1930s, and it's a typical Rivera subject of the union between art and industry:


It's a trompe l'oeuil painting, depicting the artist himself sitting on scaffolding that appears to be in front of the wall. He's directing a group of helpers who are working on a giant image of a cloth-capped worker.



The scaffolding divides the wall up into panels, in which we see men working on machines, woodworking, and placing giant girders together on a building project.

No deep thoughts about seeing this. Just an appreciation of the fineness of Rivera's design, the brilliantly preserved colours of the mural, and thinking how incredibly lucky the students are to have the opportunity to show work in the company of this painting.

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