Chapter 36 - Latin American
Liberation of the Peon (page 59)
Two versions of the same work. First painted in 1923, held in Court
of Labour, Ministry of Education in Mexico City. Second in 1931 (in your
text), was one of a series on Mexican history commissioned for exhibit
by the Rockefeller Foundation in NYC (Hurlburt 123).
Now located in Philadelphia
Parallels the life of the work with the life of Christ as he alludes
to the Passion of Christ. Alludes to the descent from the cross and lamentation,
"which Rivera employed to express the tragic freedom of death with the
peasant is finally released from his life of drudgery and exploitation"
Compare with classical treatment of Christ's passion C. Other liberation
subthemes that Rivera treated included the concept of freedom through education,
and he painted scenes describing the rural schools that José Vasconcelos
created to bring literacy to the Mexican countryside. Vasconcelos developed
the "ideology of Liberal Patriotism and transformed it not only into an
idea of Mexican nationhood but, as importantly, into the basis of a specifically
Mexican nationalist theory" (Rochfort 15).
from the Cross provides the traditional imagery of Christ's crucifixion.
The strong diagonal and enshrouding the figure parallel the treatment of
the peon in Rivera's work.
Often focused on and glorified the working class as seen in the series
of works painted in and about Detroit
(this site contains several links to sites alternating photographs of project
sites with Rivera's work).
Neruda, "United Fruit Company"
attitude about intention: "If you ask me what my poetry is, I must answer:
I don't know. But if you ask my poetry it'll tell you who I am" (Neruda,
'43; qted in Santi,
received Stalin Peace Prize in '50 (Teitelboim
prize in 1971
was an active Communist in Chile
participated in the World Council for Peace ('49) at the American Continental
Peace Congress in Mexico. He was described by some journalists as "a key
figure in the Congress, and his speech was the high point" (qted in Teitelboim
322): "We have received support from the pride of our continent: ...Henry
Wallace, Thomas Mann, Alfonso Ryees, Paul Robeson, Diego Rivera, Enrique
Gonzalez Martinez... We are trained soldiers in a great civilian army which
will prevent war... Whoever opposes peace, opposes life" (Teitelboim
about the poem
from La lámpara en la tierra (Lamp in the Earth)
A cycle of seven poems. The last six are "a pointed analogue of the
six days of creation in the biblical Genesis" (Santí
among the most explicit uses of biblical commonplace (Santi' 187)
includes poems cataloging trees in native American parallels Eden in
poems about the birds and beast (as in Eden)
description of the four rivers of Latin America (Orinoco, Amazon, Tequendama,
Bio Bio) parallels the four rives of Eden
"United Fruit Company"
mock narrative of creation
unmasks the myths promulgated by multinational corporations in Latin