Diego Rivera is more often referred to as the husband of the incomparable Frida Kahlo, but his own artistic talent, as well as political views and numerous love affairs, deserve special attention. Coming from a wealthy Mexican family, Diego Rivera was at first a communist, then became a consistent Trotskyist, and, despite disagreements with Trotsky, remained a staunch supporter of his ideas until the end of his life. He was very fond of women who reciprocated him.
Diego Rivera’s love for drawing manifested itself at a young age. The father was so impressed by the desire of a three-year-old boy to paint everything around that he remade one of the rooms for his son’s hobby, covering the walls with ordinary school boards. A few decades later, Diego Rivera inscribed his name in golden letters in the history of Mexican fine art. And he became one of the most famous and controversial artists in the world who created monumental works.
Diego Rivera was not handsome. An obese and clumsy man with swollen eyelids and bulging eyes, he, nevertheless, was popular with women, conquering them with an unbridled temperament and eloquence. He was officially married four times, started several love affairs at the same time, and at the same time humiliated his beloved in every possible way. Once Rivera admitted that he subjected those women to whom he himself was unrestrainedly in love with especially cruel suffering.
Diego Rivera was called the “cannibal”. In relations with his beloved women, he fully corresponded to his nickname, taking from his mistress everything that she is able to give to a man, in return rewarding her with torment. He loved his first wife Angelina Belova, but cheated on her, was jealous and even beat. And then, after the divorce, he even pretended that he did not recognize her at a chance meeting. Exquisitely he could humiliate even his children. For example, he never officially recognized his illegitimate daughter from Maria Vorobyeva-Stebelskaya and shied away from her in public. And then, after parting with Maria, he married the writer Guadalupe Marin and she gave birth to Diego’s two daughters.
In 1949, 22-year-old Frida Kahlo happened in the life of Rivera, who became the main woman of his entire destiny. However, he also cheated on Frida, and once with her sister. Loving Frida did with Diego the way he used to do with women who loved him. She divorced him and did not hide her love affairs with other men, including Trotsky himself. And when Rivera, exhausted by separation, begged his wife for a chance for reconciliation, Frida forced him to conclude a marriage contract with a complete renunciation of sex. And he agreed.
But Rivera’s real passion was painting. In 1907, he moved from Mexico City to Europe, where he met and befriended the followers of Cubism and Impressionism. And in Paris, Pablo Picasso himself became a close friend and teacher of the young artist. In his work, Rivera was versatile, portraying what he wanted and how he wanted. He preferred to create frescoes, decorating public buildings with monumental painting. The murals were predominantly political in color.
Diego Rivera was inspired by the revolutionary moods prevailing in society, and closely followed the situation in the USSR. He visited the Soviet Union twice. The first time this happened in 1927, when Diego took part in the solemn celebrations of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. And then returned in 1955. Naturally, Rivera approved of communist ideas. In 1922, he joined the Communist Party of Mexico, and from a trip to Moscow he even brought a mandate to build a worker-peasant movement in his country. Over time, the artist became disillusioned with Stalin’s too harsh methods and took the position of Trotsky, whom he even sheltered in a house shared with Frida.
But Rivera did not stay in the party of Trotsky either.
He was expelled from there in August 1939 for disagreements with the official position of the leader. And Diego Rivera suddenly became imbued with the ideology of Stalin and at the end of his life, before a trip to the USSR, he again joined the ranks of the Mexican communists.
The political convictions of the muralist also affected his work. In addition to his favorite topic, folklore, Diego Rivera created works that illuminate the revolutionary events in the country and the world. For example, the Rockefeller Center commissioned the artist to paint the mural Man at the Crossroads. The artist depicted Lenin on the mural, which the customers did not like. The author rejected the request to replace Lenin with a less controversial character or an unknown person, so the center destroyed the fresco.
A year after his visit to the USSR, Diego Rivera died. And he left behind a rich legacy that surprises the viewer, makes you think and look for answers to questions.