Mexican Art After the Revolution | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Mexican Art After the Revolution

In December, I saw a small exhibit of Post-Revolutionary ceramics at the Cabañas Cultural Institute in Guadalajara. I was totally charmed by them, and I learned at the Institute that this kind of (folk?) art flowered in Mexico only recently.

During the Colonial Period (1521-1810), Mexican artists drew heavily on Spanish subjects and styles. I usually find such work to be dark and passionless.


Indigenous artists were trained in the European style and received commissions from Spanish nobles, who had no interest in Mayan or Aztec art forms. This painting of St. Joseph, and the portrait of a nobleman, below, seem to me to have little to do with anything that is Mexican.


After the Mexican Revolutionary Period (1910-1920) came an explosion of nationalism and revival of Mexican culture. The great muralists, like Diego Rivera, created works that reflected an optimistic view of the national character, and incorporated ideas from the lives of the Mexican people and their indigenous ancestors.

The ceramics at the Cabañas were examples of high craft, incorporating the playfulness and color of Mexico.


I was particularly struck by how these 20th-Century artists echoed the work of their Mayan forebears.


The works depicted in the pair of images above were created a thousand years apart; likewise, the pair below. But to me at least, they couldn't be anything but Mexican. If the effects of aging weren't there, I might find it hard to know which of them were created in the 20th Century.


I was completely captivated by the Post-Revolutionary ceramics at the Cabañas. For more images, check out this Flickr photoset.