Friday, October 31, 2014

Eve of Dia de los Muertos: An exploration of Catrina or...where did all these skulls come from anyway?

Jose Guadelupe Posada, a contemporary of Diego Rivera and engraver renowned for his social commentary,  produced a zinc etching called La Calavera Catrina (between 1910-1913)

Does she look familiar?

The engraving per wikipedia  "was meant to satirize the life of the upper classes during the reign of Porfirio Díaz". He was making fun of wealthy Mexicans who strove to live like European aristocracy. Wikipedia goes on "Most of his imagery was meant to make a religious or satirical point. Since his death, however, his images have become associated with the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the 'Day of the Dead'."

So perhaps Posada is responsible for the images and representations of the calavera (skull) on and about Dia de los Muertos. It does I suppose represent an archetype I think as the image has been absorbed into our culture and I wear mine on Hallowe'en.

Diego Rivera produced this image in his painting Sueno de Una Tarda en el Alameda; Posada is portrayed on Catrina's left, Frida stands between Catrina and a youthful Diego. Alameda is the large central park in Mexico City

Here is a nice discussion of this painting; apparently there are 400 years of important Mexican personages in this painting. A whole big history lesson in one mural; Rivera's goal may have been to edify as well as comment...

I was lucky to view this 50 foot long mural during my trip to Mexico in 2007; it is in a large building on the edge of Alameda Park.

No comments:

Post a Comment