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Synopsis

This article discusses the mural that Diego Rivera recently had painted at the Hospital de La Raza del IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) [Mexican Social Security Institute], in which he represented the medical culture of Mexico’s past in an attempt to give the population a sense of security in the present. Rivera used a new technique here, combining fresco painting with mosaics, and announced that he always tried to work with the architect so that they could both share an aesthetic responsibility for the building. Rivera ends by saying that Mexicans could look forward to enjoying not just the mural but the full range of public services to be offered by the Hospital de la Raza once it was open. On the other hand, he deplores the fact that peasants in rural areas are unable to enjoy the benefits of social security because they live in a country divided by class struggle.

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The Hospital de la Raza was a major project at that time, created in response to a demand in the area of public health. It provided Diego Rivera (1886-1957) with the chance to work with the finest Mexican architects and artists of the period. Art and architecture thus combined to create a building in which the interior decoration was in harmony with the structure of the edifice as a whole. Enrique Yáñez (1908-90), the architect in charge of the construction of the Hospital de la Raza, designed walls especially for murals created by Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974). Rivera named the mural that is mentioned in this article, La Historia de la Medicina en México: El pueblo en demanda de la salud (1953-1954) [The History of Medicine in Mexico: The People Demand Health]. This was the final work created by the famous muralist, in which he strove to represent Pre-Hispanic tradition as it relates to modern medicine. We know that Rivera was a great lover of Mexican Pre-Hispanic culture—his own house, El Anahuacalli is proof of that—so it comes as no surprise to see that he included it in this mural.     

Researcher
María Fernanda Arochi
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional /Hemeroteca Nacional