Mexican Mural Painting Style by David Alfaro Sigueros (1986-1974)

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Most graphic designs in Latin America are influenced by modern art and art deco, which are distinctive to the country. The compositions make use of strong curves and contrasting paint schemes. Furthermore, it makes use of a combination of contrasting elements as well as wacky typography. Owing to their relative populations, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have a large number of fine graphic makers. David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) was a Mexican artist and muralist who used Marxist revolutionary theory to express his work. Alfaro founded Mexican mural art, which included subjects such as the Spanish Civil War and trade union work. The paper will discuss various aspects of the Mexican Mural design culture, the design itself and how David Alfaro Sigueros played a part in influencing this design. In 1934, he influenced the Mexican government to construct the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.

Historical and Cultural Context

Mexican Muralism style of painting was initiated during the Mexican Civil War (1910-1920). At the heart of the revolution was the demand for agrarian reform in order to signal a new and Modern Mexican Society. As a result, the government commissioned artists to educate the most illiterate of masses by use of artwork. Three artists namely Siqueiros, Rivera and Cement Orozco cultivated the Muralism style that defined the Mexican Revolution. The approach featured non-European heroes of the past and present. Orozco painted nearly 2 dozen schools by using peasant attire. Similarly, Alfaro Siqueiro influenced the development of national art and looked to ancient indigenous cultures for inspiration (Anreus Leonard and Robin 5). After visiting the great Fresco painters of Renaissance in Italy, he was exposed to Marxism. As a result, Alfaro introduced classical painting with new values that acknowledge modern machines and daily life characteristics. In 1922 while in Mexico, Siqueiro aided in writing the subject on the collective art and focused on introducing other artist’s to the idea.

Design style

Mexican Muralism

Siqueiros embraced a distinguished style composed of great dynamism and compositional movement. Also known as muralism, his style of design entailed sculptural creation of forms and restricted color ranges that were supported by intense effects of lighting and shadows (Affron ‎and Castro 6). It was also designed in thousands of square meters and each section had vivid wall paintings. The purpose of this style was to initiate social industrial and political changes in Mexico. The common color applied in the artist’s paintings was lacquer and he sprayed paint guns in order to fasten the painting process for large public buildings. An example of such piece of art was the Echo of a Cry (1937).

In addition, Alfaro Siqueiros combined elements of avant-garde painting and traditional art symbolism. His artwork titled “The Elements” was one of its most recognizable works. On the staircase of a small courtyard of the National Preparatory school, he painted a monumental winged female that was surrounded by four elements. He used elements of Byzantine icons and embedded them on a sculpturesque figure which was inspired by Renaissance painters such as Masaccio (Affron and Castro 3). Like most of his work, the figure had intense colors elaborating the vivid red abstract flames. The artwork was mainly used to promote Alfaro’s socio-political views. Some of the graphic styles used by David Alfaro were inspired by American Kitsch JoseGaudaluppe. In the art entitled ‘burial of worker’, Siqueiro painted it in the stairwell of the Colegio Chico. He introduced color photographs of the tropical America and tracing figures onto a wall with an electric projector making the art style unique.

Desired Effect

Mexican muralism is a promotional approach that was largely advocated for with the aim of unifying the country socially and politically. This move was headed by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco as well as David Alfaro Siqueiros. The three were graphic designers and they painted designs on public buildings for ease of access by the Mexican nationals. This was copied by the United States as an inspiration to the Chicago art movement. Muralism painting commenced in the Olmec civilization in the pre-Hispanic period to the for the purpose of evangelism and emphasis on Christian doctrines (Anreus Leonard and Robin 1). For instance, Santa Teresa Church was painted by Juan Cordero.


In conclusion, it is evident from the analysis that Graphic design seems to be moving from generation to generations with the aim of influencing people and events. Styles and rules are invented and some may be borrowed from different sources as seen in Alfaro Sigueros case. The paper explains Alfaro Sigueros’ influence on Mexican Muralism and how he used his unique artwork to influence the political landscape in Mexico. It is evident from the paper that ideologies and political movements can be formulated through art. Among the many ideas brought up, some are rejected and others improved to better applicable ideas which were eventually made practical and influenced the next generation of ideas in art. Among other issues discussed in the article includes historical context of the style and the unique rules and aspects of Alfaro Sigueros designs.

Work cited

Affron, Matthew ‎and Castro, Mark. "Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950." (2016). Print.

Anreus, Alejandro, Leonard Folgarait, and Robin A. Greeley. Mexican Muralism: A Critical History. , 2012. Print.

July 24, 2021


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