June 13, 2012

Diego Rivera mural at San Francisco Art Institute

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Diego Rivera mural at San Francisco Art Institute

The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City ("Making a Fresco") (1931) is one of four murals in the Bay Area painted by Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957).

Okay, let me get all photo-geeky on you here; I don't have a wide angle lens, so to capture this wide scene I turned my camera vertically and stitched-together 5 panorama segments.

It would have been an easy fix but I retained the converging angles for a more realistic view of the gallery.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with tripods. My newest tripod purchase, a 70" heavy-duty Til-Tall, the same model I used as a kid, is on the way. But I didn't feel I needed to use a tripod to capture this mural. I normally like to shoot at the lower ISO-100 but felt ISO-500 would be acceptable here. I used f-8 which provided enough depth of field for the flat wall, and with image-stabilization, shutter speeds in the 1/200sec range were fast enough for a sharp image even though I MAY have been waving my unbraced camera around like a "conductor's baton".

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

(((source: Wikipedia)))  Rivera began drawing when he was only three, just a year after his twin brother's death. He had been caught drawing on the walls. His parents, rather than punishing him, installed chalkboards and canvas on the walls for the young painter to make use of.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

(((source: Wikipedia)))  As an adult, Rivera was a notorious womanizer who had fathered at least one illegitimate child. Diego married Angelina Beloff in 1911, and she gave birth to a son, Diego (1916–1918). Maria Vorobieff-Stebelska gave birth to a daughter named Marika in 1918 or 1919 when Rivera was married to Angelina.

Rivera married his second wife, Guadalupe Marín, in June 1922, with whom he had two daughters: Ruth and Guadalupe. Still married when he met art student Frida Kahlo, they married on August 21, 1929 when he was 42 and she was 22. Their mutual infidelities and his violent temper led to divorce in 1939, but they remarried December 8, 1940 in San Francisco. Rivera later married Emma Hurtado, his agent since 1946, on July 29, 1955, one year after Kahlo's death. He died on November 24, 1957.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

(((source: Wikipedia)))  Rivera was an atheist. His mural Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda depicted Ignacio Ramírez holding a sign which read, "God does not exist". This work caused a furor, but Rivera refused to remove the inscription. The painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription. He stated: "To affirm 'God does not exist', I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez; I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis."

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And where there is labor there WILL be management. Ahem... Men in suits.

SFAI has more specifics (written in Gobble-de-gook) on their webpage at: http://www.sfai.edu/diego-rivera-mural

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

But past all the flowery language and privileged rank and rampant lifestyle, Rivera acknowledged the struggle of the common man, sticking up for labor. Social responsibility is difficult to capture but he did it in a streamlined and powerful manner. Reality. Even pausing to show the process, as in this masterpiece. Reality that is now powerfully historic.

CLICK for the very "best" of my work on my photo website.


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

I honestly thought that was a one shot photo when viewing it on yesterday's header. I am impressed, mainly because I've never tried stitching. Well done.

AphotoAday said...

Thanks JOHN (SINBAD'S DAD) Some cameras will stitch images together inside the camera, but I used PS Photomerge for this. Easy and automatic. Usually works but some low detail scenes may not work. Irregular tones in skies caused by lens vignetting can be a problem too

MELI. said...

as beautiful as it is timeless
great photos, i heart north beach

Civic Center said...

Even though I prefer both Orozco as a muralist and his wife Frida as a painter, Diego Rivera's work still has its own fascination, and that SFAI mural is one of his best in the world. Thanks for documenting it so well.

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