The Mexican Revolution and defining a new culture


The Mexican Revolution spawned a cultural renaissance in Mexican art. Favoring a more visual vocabulary to help give Mexico a national identity through the political imagery in murals. The artists of this period wished to create a purely Mexican identity, without any European influence. There were many incredibly influential Mexican muralists that aided in building a national identity, including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and Alfaro Siqueiros.

Although he has nothing to do with the Mexican Revolution, I believe it is very interesting that composer Richard Wagner wrote an essay entitled “Art and Revolution”. It comprises of the nature of politics in art as well as the role of art in society. The “revolution” for Wagner is the defined return to nature. Art and politics have always been closely connected. Whether it is through paintings, plays or operas; art, in many cases represents a political change.

With the desire to create a national identity, Mexican composers such as Carlos Chávez step to the front line in helping to create a musical identity. There is less and less “European” influence heard in Mexican music and seen in Mexican art. Creating an identity that is completely separate from Spanish influence is paramount. Revolutions, do not always aid in creating a national identity such as with the Mexican Revolution. Often times, revolutions reflected through art demonstrate politics and political opinions. Political unrest leads to change and this change is reflected in various mediums. Each revolution impacts art in an original way. The Mexican Revolution was so incredible in it’s influence on Mexican Culture, without which, its unique identity might never have been formed.

-Jamille Brewster-


Berry, Mark. “Richard Wagner and the Politics of Music-Drama”. The Historical Journal, 47/3 (September, 2004): 663-683.

Parker, Robert. “Chávez (y Ramírez), Carlos (Antonio de Padua)”. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (accessed January 30, 2017).

Patterson, Robert H. “An Art in Revolution: Antecedents of Mexican Mural Painting, 1900-1920” Journal of Inter-American Studies, 6/3 (July,1964): 377-387.

Smith, Peter H. “The Mexican revolution and the transformation of political elites”. Boletín de Studie en Documentatie van Latijns Amerika, 25 (December, 1978): 3-20.


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