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Diego Rivera’s mural La Creación [The Creation] was unveiled during a showing at the amphitheater of the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria de México—with the assistance of the painter and the Minister of Public Education, José Vasconcelos. After the musical session directed by Julia Alonso de Dreiffes, the poet Manuel Maples Arce gave a speech that lasted an hour and a half in which he described the mural painting as “estridentista-like.” Maples Arce brazenly criticized the Impressionists as well as the artists of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, which he vilified as “un burdel del arte pictórico” [a brothel of pictorial art]. On the other hand, he addressed Rivera’s work as having an intensely nationalist expression. There was another orator who spoke on the “Americanist” style that Rivera was able to brand in his work on the walls of the aforementioned auditorium.


Manuel Maples Arce (1898–1981), the orator of the event, held various diplomatic posts in Europe and Latin America. He became known as a poet through works such as Rag. Tintas de abanico [Rag: Ink on a Fan] (1920) and Andamios interiores (1922) [Interior Scaffolding], the book with which he founded the estridentismo movement (this work has the same title as a musical score by Fermín Revueltas (1901–1935)), and Urbe (1924) [City], described by Maples Arce as a “superpoema bolchevique en cinco cantos” [Bolshevik super-poem in five cantos].

This article is of interest because it covers (in 1923) the different aspects of mural painting. On the one hand, the title of the article describes it as “cubist,” although Maples Arce included it within the estridentista movement. As it were, both criteria place Muralism within the Mexican avant-garde.


Esther Acevedo : Dirección de Estudios Históricos, INAH / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional