Famous Quotes by Diego Rivera

When art is true, it is one with nature. This is the secret of primitive art and also of the art of the masters — Michelangelo, Cézanne, Seurat and Renoir. The secret of my best work is that it is Mexican.

Through her paintings, she breaks all the taboos of the woman's body and of female sexuality.

Diego Rivera discussing the qualities of his wife, Frida Kahlo

I've never believed in God, but I believe in Picasso.

I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis. I am not an enemy of the Catholics, as I am not an enemy of the tuberculars, the myopic or the paralytics; you cannot be an enemy of the sick, only their good friend in order to help them cure themselves.

I recommend her to you, not as a husband but as an enthusiastic admirer of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and fine as a butterfly's wing, lovable as a beautiful smile, and as profound and cruel as the bitterness of life.

As an artist I have always tried to be faithful to my vision of life, and I have frequently been in conflict with those who wanted me to paint not what I saw but what they wished me to see.

From sunrise to sunset, I was in the forest, sometimes far from the house, with my goat who watched me as a mother does a child. All the animals in the forest became my friends, even dangerous and poisonous ones. Thanks to my goat-mother and my Indian nurse, I have always enjoyed the trust of animals--a precious gift. I still love animals infinitely more than human beings.

Looking back upon my work today, I think the best I have done grew out of things deeply felt, the worst from a pride in mere talent.

Every good composition is above all a work of abstraction. All good painters know this. But the painter cannot dispense with subjects altogether without his work suffering impoverishment.

If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was only the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.

Never before had a woman put such agonizing poetry on canvas as Frida did.

July 13, 1954 was the most tragic day of my life. I had lost my beloved Frida forever. To late now I realized that the most wonderful part of my life had been my love for Frida.

I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And would continue to be, up to the moment she died, 27 years later.

You have to trust a TRUE compliment as much as a critique.

I knew how one climbing the mountain of worldly success can slip down into the river below without being conscious of the descent till he is already drowning.

As I rode back to Detroit, a vision of Henry Ford's industrial empire kept passing before my eyes. In my ears, I heard the wonderful symphony which came from his factories where metals were shaped into tools for men's service. It was a new music, waiting for the composer with genius enough to give it communicable form. I thought of the millions of different men by whose combined labor and thought automobiles were produced, from the miners who dug the iron ore out of the earth to the railroad men and teamsters who brought the finished machines to the consumer, so that man, space, and time might be conquered, and ever-expanding victories be won against death.

In my previous murals, I had tried to achieve a harmony in my painting with the architecture of the building. But to attempt such a harmony in the garden of the Institute would have defeated my purposes. For the walls here were of an intricate Italian baroque style, with little windows, heads of satyrs, doorways, and sculpturesque mouldings. It was within such a frame that I was to represent the life of an age which had nothing to do with baroque refinements -- a new life which was characterized by masses, machines, and naked mechanical power. So I set to work consciously to over-power the ornamentation of the room.

Marx made theory... Lenin applied it with his sense of large-scale social organization... And Henry Ford made the work of the socialist state possible.

While working in California, I met William Valentiner and Edgar Richardson of the Detroit Institute of Arts. I mentioned a desire which I had to paint a series of murals about the industries of the United States, a series that would constitute a new kind of plastic poem, depicting in color and form the story of each industry and its division of labor. Dr. Valentiner was keenly interested, considering my idea a potential base for a new school of modern art in America, as related to the social structure of American life as the art of the Middle Ages had been related to medieval society.

An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn't capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.

Fidelity is a bourgeois virtue and it exists only to exploit people and to obtain an economic gain.