Study for ‘Strength’ Panel in Ministry of Health Mural

After Rivera finished his mural cycle at Chapingo in 1926, he received a commission to paint the conference room in the new Ministry of Health building in Mexico City. Entitled Health and Life, and painted between 1929 and 1930, the mural included figures symbolizing Purity, Knowledge, Life, Moderation and Health, and this classical drawing of a reclining nude symbolizing ‘Strength.’

In the study Rivera draws the voluptuous curves of the woman with a supple sensuality that is replaced in the final work by a hard sculptural quality. This is best seen in the face of the figure drawn without detail in the study, and transformed on the wall painting into a non-specific, stone visage.

The model for this drawing is an unidentified friend of Frida Kahlo’s. It was during this time that Rivera first met Kahlo, and it was she who engaged the models for these nudes.