The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This document outlines the opinions of Federico García, a Spanish artist who wrote an article for the Madrid daily ABC. Both a correspondent and columnist for the magazine, he states his disapproval for the manner in which Diego Rivera portrayed the Spanish people in his mural Historia de la conquista de Morelos [History of the Morelos Conquest] at the Palacio de Cortés in Cuernavaca (1929). The polemical journalist accused Rivera of: “an exaggerated and unfair depiction of the mistakes made during the conquest and a dark and unnatural resentment about Spain.”
This article by Antonio Magaña Esquivel highlights the manner in which the painter from Guanajuato, Diego Rivera (1886-1957), portrayed the conquest of Mexico through the use of certain stereotypes, such as depicting Spaniards as bandits, looters, sex fiends, and gluttons, while resorting to mockery and scathing insults. In reality, the mural commissioned by Dwight Whitney Morrow (1873-1931), senator and later United States ambassador to Mexico, concerned other matters, such as the effect of the North American depression, racism, colonization, primitivism, modernism, and the contrasts between culture/civilization and nature/modernization, which are all fundamental aspects of the coercion associated with cultural Pan-Americanism that was prevalent throughout the continent by his country. Diego Rivera (1886-1957) obtained the commission shortly after his departure from the PCM [Mexican Communist Party]. At the same time, one should remember that during this era Rivera was the subject of an important 1930 exhibition at MoMA in which he portrayed the natural and primitive environment of the native Mexican people. The show was in some ways a variation on the frescoes he had painted earlier in Cuernavaca: the accentuation of the myth of Mexican identity and the concept (perhaps somewhat folkloristic) of the "noble savage," concepts that go beyond a mere Manichean interpretation of the conquest.