Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People

Overview


 Diego Rivera offers young readers unique insight into the life and artwork of the famous Mexican painter and muralist. The book follows Rivera’s career, looking at his influences and tracing the evolution of his style. His work often called attention to the culture and struggles of the Mexican working class. Believing that art should be for the people, he created public murals in both the United States and Mexico, examples of which are included. The book contains a list of museums where you can see ...
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Overview


 Diego Rivera offers young readers unique insight into the life and artwork of the famous Mexican painter and muralist. The book follows Rivera’s career, looking at his influences and tracing the evolution of his style. His work often called attention to the culture and struggles of the Mexican working class. Believing that art should be for the people, he created public murals in both the United States and Mexico, examples of which are included. The book contains a list of museums where you can see Rivera’s art, a historical note, a glossary, and a bibliography.

Praise for Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People
STARRED REVIEWS
"With engaging prose that is beautifully illustrated with Diego Rivera’s paintings and murals, this spacious volume introduces the great Mexican artist to young people. Accompanied by crisply reproduced color images of both the bright, minutely detailed murals as well as archival photos of the artist at work, the accessible account discusses how Diego constructed his art..."
--Booklist, starred review

"The stunning illustrations include images of Rivera’s murals, his “cartoon” drawings, reproductions of art that he found influential, and photographs. The design, with scrollwork along the top and bottom and an unusual placement of page numbers, exudes style. The text is clearly written, straightforward, and attention-grabbing, with a good number of quotes interspersed throughout."
--School Library Journal, starred review

"A carefully researched, cogently argued and handsomely produced appreciation."
--Kirkus Reviews

"There is life to these pages, and breadth to its subject. Short enough to reward a wary reader but with enough context and clarity to bring Diego to life, Rubin takes a tricky guy for kids to know about and makes him precisely what he was: bigger than life."
--School Library Journal, Fuse 8 Blog

"Enhanced by gorgeously reproduced photos and artwork, Rubin’s account follows the Mexican artist from his early drawings — as a small child, he was given free rein in a room “covered with black canvas as high as he could reach” — through his eventful, productive life."
--The Washington Post

"Rubin traces Rivera’s life from his emergent boyhood talent, through the formal studio education that left him restless and professionally unsatisfied, to realizing his calling to create massive public artworks for the common people, celebrating the dignity of their labor."
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Award
School Library Journal Best Book of 2013
Best Multicultural Children's Books 2013 (Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature)
Notable Children's Books from ALSC 2014
Notable Books for a Global Society Book Award 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Six feet tall, with bulging eyes and weighing three hundred pounds, Rivera (1886—1957) was often said to resemble a frog. Rubin's exploration of his life and art opens with a striking 1941 self-portrait of the larger-than-life artist in a bright red shirt. Concentrating on his early influences, she introduces Jose Guadalupe Posada, artist of calaveras (feisty skeletons of Mexican folk art), then takes Rivera to Europe for exposure to Spanish painters (Velazquez's Las meninas is reproduced); to Paris, where he encountered Cubism; and to Italy, where he was inspired by Giotto's early Renaissance frescoes. (Readers can find Rivera's European work on the Internet.) Returning to Mexico, Rivera became especially committed to painting monumental murals of Mexican history and revolution, meant to educate a largely illiterate population; he also joined the Communist party. In 1929, Rivera met and married artist Frida Kahlo, with whom he is invariably linked in art and life, sharing her devotion to the Mexican working people and collecting ancient Mexican art. As Rivera became famous and worked in the United States, their relationship deteriorated and ended in divorce—they remarried in 1940. Rubin is fairly frank about the artist's life, but plays down his Communist activities and the extent of his affairs—especially devastating was the betrayal with Kahlo's sister. With its wide horizontal pages, this handsomely-designed volume is excellent for reproducing murals, allowing art-lovers to see several famous ones and even the less-familiar Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, which includes a flamboyant Posada calavera, Frida, and a child Diego. Black-and-white photographs show Rivera at work. Although several pages on Mexican history seem repetitious (a timeline might have been more useful), aspiring artists will appreciate a good glossary and some further background on Rivera's influences. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Rivera's life is presented through the lens of his art, making his love of Mexico and traditional Mexican art palpable and his search for his own artistic style an intriguing journey. The stunning illustrations include images of Rivera's murals, his "cartoon" drawings, reproductions of art that he found influential, and photographs. The design, with scrollwork along the top and bottom and an unusual placement of page numbers, exudes style. The text is clearly written, straightforward, and attention-grabbing, with a good number of quotes interspersed throughout. Rivera's weaknesses and failures, such as his womanizing and the Rockefeller controversy, are presented honestly and without judgment-just the facts as they are known. Thoughtful sections about Mexican history as represented in Rivera's artwork and his artistic influences conclude the volume. Overall this is a classy, visually pleasing and interesting read.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
Kirkus Reviews
A perceptive if patchy tribute to Mexico's premier muralist and (arguably) second-most-renowned visual artist. Along with biographical details (frank enough to acknowledge repeatedly that he always "liked the ladies, and the ladies had always liked him"), Rubin highlights aspects of Rivera's art that sets it apart from Frida Kahlo's: the focus on public settings, on depicting working classes and campesinos, on representing historical and industrial themes. The rich array of illustrations include bright images of full murals and details, sample preliminary drawings, big photos of Rivera at work (and posing with Kahlo) and even works by other artists, from Giotto to José Guadalupe Posada, that strongly affected his artistic development. Though the appended disquisitions on Mexico's history and on Rivera's artistic influences seem tacked on and in large part go over material the author has already presented, overall this offers readers who only know Rivera from picture-book biographies a more nuanced view of his controversial life and distinctive art. A carefully researched, cogently argued and handsomely produced appreciation. (reading list, endnotes) (Biography. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810984110
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 303,695
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 980L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of many biographies for young people including Jean Lafitte: The Pirate Who Saved America and Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter. She lives in Malibu, California.
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