Diego Rivera

From the new edition of  In the Shadow of the Angel:

Diego Rivera became one of the “sights” of the city, sitting on his sagging beam, painting twelve to fifteen hours a day.

The walls of the interior courtyard of the Education building glowed with patterns of exuberant nature, peopled with rhythmic groups of figures guiding the eye where the master led it.

Clemente Orozco, Jean Charlot, David Siqueiros and other painters straddled their scaffolds to create bold murals along corridors, above stairways, in dark corners.  Masters, masons, apprentices, plasterers, and gawking spectators gave the aspect of a Renaissance engraving to the seventeenth-century Spanish palace.

Antonieta waited until the sun was almost down and the fading light would oblige Diego to come down from the scaffold. She had not dared come for weeks, not wishing to provoke more of Albert’s bombastic ranting.  But she was drawn to this place, and had come again in spite of Albert’s accusations and the raised eyebrows of the family.  Only Chela understood its attraction.  This was the real Mexico, tinted with savagery but full of life.  A Mexico on whose periphery she stood, an observer of the action, but more alive through the mere contact.  She stood in the shadows and waited, so as not to distract the master.

Diego climbed down from his beam, squinted at his work, moving his cumbersome body back and forth, here and there, appraising, his critical eye observing every detail.  Then he clambered up again and made a correction. Tomorrow would be too late; the plaster would be dry.  When the fading rays of the sun abandoned the wall, he descended again.

Antonieta stepped forward and greeted Diego with a kiss on the cheek.

Click Here, to read the full story on Rivera and other great artists of post revolutionary Mexico…