The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 308
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
famous. The name of Diego Rivera is about as widely recognized as
that of any artist in the world, while Jose Clemente Orozco stands only
a short distance behind in popular acclaim. Art aficionados every-
where feel quite strongly about Rufino Tamayo and David Alfaro
Siqueiros. Beyond that, they tend to dismiss Mexican art as a religious
derivation from the Spain of colonial days, with nothing much in
between. As this book shows, they could not be more wrong.
Here in 267 plates, nine of them in vivid color, is the proof that
modern Mexican art is not some sensational explosion, but a coherent
culmination of a feeling for art, the roots of which go all the way
back to the days when men painted on rocks and in caves before the
European had ever been dreamed of on this continent. To this reviewer
the amazing feat of the pre-Hispanic Mexicans has been their pre-
occupation with color brilliance and their ability to make these gleam-
ing colors last through the centuries. Not much survives from the
formative period, but from the days of the Christian era a Classic
Horizon emerged which can be found throughout the whole of Mexico,
unconfined to any region. Examples of the classic can be found in the
paintings that survive from the great pyramid of Teotihuacan in the
Valley of Mexico, from Monte Alban outside of Oaxaca, and in
Bonampak beyond the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Indians painted
on every type of wall-on pyramids, temples, palaces, tombs, wherever
people got together for pageantry. They used water colors, and ap-
parently and occasionally, pigment mixed with thick lime water,
juices of nopal and orchid, human blood, and every other kind of
animal, mineral, and vegetable source. They painted for the ages,
and we can read them nearly as well as we approach the year A. D.
2000 as we could have before Leif Ericson, Columbus, Cabot, or any
of those other founding fathers who came along to save the heathen.
Jean Charlot, no mean muralist himself, in his perceptive Foreword
suggests: "The uniqueness of Mexican art comes from its refusal to
merge unquestionably in any national picture of the moment, of any
moment ... it goes at times with the grain, at other times against
the grain. It does so for reasons that always are its own. This stubborn
attitude in the face of outside pressures is what saves Mexican art as an
entity, a self that takes many forms and yet always remains itself."
Certainly the more nationalistic Mexico's muralists have become, the
more internationalistic they have become. In the days when Mexico
was ruled by Spain, it leaned heavily on Madrid for inspiration and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/340/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.