Diego Rivera’s art was shaped by the socialist ideals of Mexican politics and by the Mexican Renaissance, which sought to revive native cultures and traditions as a means of unifying national identity. Rivera drew artistic inspiration from his personal collection, the largest in Mexico, of more than 59,000 ancient American art objects. He housed them in a Mayan Revival museum inscribed on the portal, “I give back to my people that which they can rescue from the artistic legacy of their ancestors.”
Does America have a national identity?
Rivera promoted a living link between ancient and modern Mexican art. This painting recalls Olmec stone figures or Jalisco ceramics, which could have served as models for these women. With their simplicity and grandeur, the two women also resemble the nearly contemporary classical figures of Pablo Picasso. This image may have been derived from studies Rivera made at open-air markets, and the subject of mothers and children interested him throughout his career.
Gift of Albert M. Bender to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor