Art Study in Spanish | Diego Rivera – Latin American Art

notebook page with pictures of artwork by Diego Rivera

One of Mexico’s most famous artists is Diego Rivera. Read about his life and his artwork gallery below. Use this biographical information and sample artwork to practice your Spanish skills in an art study time by yourself or with a group.

How to Have an Art Study Time to Learn Spanish

One of the challenges in learning Spanish is finding ways to speak the language. An art study time is a great way to practice listening and speaking from a visual source. Everyone at any skill level can describe the art to learn new vocabulary.

Art study can grow all four language skills in 15 to 30 minutes. Each step focuses on your listening, speaking, reading and writing abilities. The tasks fit every skill level. 

notebook page with pictures of artwork by Diego Rivera

Your Step-by-Step Art Study in Spanish Guide

That’s where I come in. I’ve done this before and I’m here to help you. The last thing you want is to get overwhelmed and stop even before you talk about art in Spanish. I have each step laid out in the Discussion Guide, Vocabulary and Elements and Principles of Art guidebooks.

Or you can pull it together on your own, following the the steps below. Either way, I’ll help you with a basic art study time to start describing art in Spanish. So, grab an artwork and some basic materials and let’s get started!

Biography of Diego Rivera

Who is Diego Rivera?

Diego Rivera is a Mexican painter famous for creating murals in Mexico and the United States. Also, he is well known for portraits of indigenous people and flowers. Both are done in a new style called Mexicanidad. More than that, he painted many different styles.

Often his art has a political and social message of reform.

¿Quién es Diego Rivera?

Diego Rivera es un pintor mexicano famoso por crear murales en México y los Estados Unidos. Además, es muy conocido por los retratos de personas y flores indígenas. Ambos se realizan en un nuevo estilo llamado mexicanidad. Más que eso, pintó muchos estilos diferentes.

A menudo su arte tiene un mensaje político y social de reforma.

Biographical Information

  • Name – Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez
  • Birthdate – December 8, 1886
  • Birthplace – Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Education – Fine Arts Academy of San Carlos, Mexico City
  • Death – November 24, 1957

Información biográfica

  • Nombre – Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez
  • Fecha de nacimiento – 8 de deciembre de 1886 (mil ochocientos ochenta y seis)
  • Lugar de nacimiento – Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Educación – Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos, Ciudad de Mexico
  • Muerte – 24 de noviembre de 1957 (mil novecientos cincuenta y siete)

Rivera, one of Latin America’s most famous artists, had many different styles. One artwork will be observed and discussed for each art study time. Print or display electronically. I recommend printing them photo size 3×5 and keeping them in an art study photo album.

Rural landscapes

In his early years, he painted realistic landscapes of rural places and buildings. This style is called naturalism.

La era - rural landscape

La Era by Diego Rivera, 1904


Later, in Europe, the abstract style of cubism influenced his style. His art transformed into abstract geometric shapes. The subject is broken into pieces and viewed from multiple perspectives. It is put back together into a collage. Sometimes the objects are flattened.

View of Toledo by Diego Rivera village on top of white sloping hillside with waterfront

View of Toledo by Diego Rivera, 1912


Al principio, experimentó con nuevos estilos de pintura. En sus primeros años, pintó paisajes realistas de lugares y edificios rurales. Este estilo se llama naturalismo.

Más tarde, en Europa, el estilo abstracto del cubismo influyó en su estilo. Su arte transformado en formas geométricas abstractas. El tema se rompe en pedazos y se ve desde múltiples perspectivas. Se vuelve a juntar en un collage. A veces los objetos son aplanados.

Mexican Muralism

Everything changed when he returned to Mexico after the revolution. The new Mexican government paid him to paint murals on public buildings for the people. The murals were meant to promote a new mestizo national identity.

Muralismo mexicano

Todo cambió cuando regresó a México después de la revolución. El nuevo gobierno mexicano le pagó para pintar murales en edificios públicos para la gente. Los murales pretendían promover una nueva identidad nacional mestiza.

Antes de comenzar, viajó a Italia para aprender la técnica del fresco del Renacimiento. Los murales mostraban las luchas de la humanidad, generalmente obreros e indígenas.

Modesta, Diego Rivera, 1957


As a result, Rivera created a new style called Mexicanidad. This style celebrates the indigenous heritage and the mestizo mix of Mexico. He painted tender and noble portraits of indigenous people. Many show the traditions of the people. Objects are flattened and widened to appear strong and sturdy.

Rivera was known as a master in his own time.


Como resultado, Rivera creó un nuevo estilo llamado Mexicanidad. Este estilo celebra la herencia indígena y la mezcla mestiza de México. Pintó tiernos y nobles retratos de pueblos indígenas. Muchos muestran las tradiciones de la gente. Los objetos se aplanan y ensanchan para que parezcan fuertes y resistentes.

Rivera fue conocido como un maestro en su propio tiempo.

Interesting facts about Diego Rivera’s life…

  • At the age of ten, he began the formal study of art. The Academy expelled him for leading a student protest. Still, he graduated.
  • He was a communist and atheist. He published a manifesto Towards a Free and Revolutionary Art.
  • In the United States, he painted Lenin into the mural Man at the Crossroads and refused to remove the communist leader. Rockefeller destroyed the mural. Later, Rivera painted Pan American Unity mural to reconcile with America.
  • Frida Kahlo was his fourth wife. Both artists are portrayed in two movies Cradle Will Rock (1999) and Frida (2002). Their home, the blue house, is a museum today.
  • Rivera collected hundreds of Pre-Columbian artifacts. He donated them to the people.
  • The Rivals, a painting commissioned by the Rockefeller family, recently sold at auction for $6.7 million, the highest price for Latin American art ever.

Datos curiosos hechos sobre la vida de Diego Rivera…

  • A la edad de diez años, comenzó el estudio formal de arte. La Academia lo expulsó por liderar una protesta estudiantil. Aún así, se graduó.
  • Era comunista y ateo. Publicó un manifiesto Hacia un arte libre y revolucionario.
  • En los Estados Unidos, pintó a Lenin en el mural Hombre en la encrucijada y se negó a destituir al líder comunista. Rockefeller destruyó el mural. Más tarde, Rivera pintó el mural de la Unidad Panamericana para reconciliarse con América.
  • Frida Kahlo fue su cuarta esposa. Ambos artistas son retratados en dos películas Cradle Will Rock (1999) y Frida (2002). Su hogar, la casa azul, es hoy un museo.
  • Rivera coleccionó cientos de artefactos precolombinos.Los donó a la gente.
  • The Rivals, un cuadro encargado por la familia Rockefeller, se vendió recientemente en una subasta por $ 6.7 millones, el precio más alto para el arte latinoamericano.

Diego Rivera Quotes

The secret to my best work is that it is Mexican.

An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.

I knew how one climbing the mountain of worldly success can slip down into the river below without being conscious of the descent till he is already drowning.

Take life everything you give, whatever it is, as long as it interests you and can give you some pleasure.


Citas de Diego Rivera

El secreto de mi mejor trabajo es que es mexicano.

Un artista es ante todo un ser humano, profundamente humano hasta la médula. Si el artista no puede sentir todo lo que siente la humanidad, si el artista no es capaz de amar hasta que se olvida de sí mismo y se sacrifica si es necesario, si no deja su pincel mágico y encabeza la lucha contra el opresor, entonces Él no es un gran artista.

Sabía cómo escalar la montaña del éxito mundano puede deslizarse hacia el río por debajo sin ser consciente del descenso hasta que ya se está ahogando.

Toma de la vida todo lo que te dé, sea lo que sea, siempre que te interese y te pueda dar cierto placer.

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notebook page with pictures of artwork by Diego Rivera

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