As part of Master Drawings New York 2013, Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art presents Diego Rivera: The Italian Sketchbook, 1920-21
At the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution in 1920, José Vasconcelos, the new Secretary of Public Education, devised a plan to promote the ideals of the revolutionary government through an ambitious program of mural painting. Diego Rivera was asked to head the movement, and accepted on the condition that that he could first tour Italy in order to study first hand the fresco paintings of the Renaissance. Traveling in Italy, Rivera sketched as he viewed the frescoes and paintings of artists such as Giotto, Uccello, Mantegna, and Tintoretto, making handwritten notes in several languages directly on his drawings. He was keenly interested in the relationship between painting and architecture, later putting his observations to brilliant use in the murals that he painted. In translating the formal ideas and techniques of the Renaissance painters to his mural projects in Mexico and the United States, Rivera provided the historical link between the Italian Renaissance and Twentieth Century Muralism in the Americas.