Mexican Murals and Fascist Frescoes: Cultural Reinvention in 20th-Century Mexico and Italy.
Sussman, Maya Dallin.
- In the 1920s aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, politicians, intellectuals, and artists built on Mexico's culture and history to unify citizens across regional and class boundaries. Throughout the 1930s, the Italian Fascist government also relied on history and tradition as a means for establishing a unifying national identity. Through visual and textual analysis, I examine the role of muralism ... read moreas a medium through which artists contributed to the reinvention of cultural identity in a time of political uncertainty and change. My research examines the ways in which early-twentieth-century Mexican and Italian muralists looked to Renaissance techniques and styles for inspiration, in an attempt to redefine their countries' history, international image, and national identity. In the Mexican context, I analyze the influence of the Italian Renaissance art that Diego Rivera viewed and sketched while traveling in Italy on the murals he later created in Mexico. My Italian research focuses on the ways in which Achille Funi drew on Renaissance frescoes and epic poems when creating his murals for the Palazzo Comunale in Ferrara. Despite the distinct cultural and political environments in which they worked, both Rivera and Funi created monumental and persuasive works of art by combining Renaissance techniques and styles with modern ideological and cultural concerns.read less