Diego Rivera – Murals – Education Ministry – Mexico City

Diego Murals at the Department of Education, Mexico City, January 2017

One of the many fabulous things about Mexico City is how accessible the art is to everyone. The Diego Rivera murals at the Education Ministry are open to all. You'll have to dodge the odd bureaucrat and the very busy cleaners but these majestic works are well worth the effort

Diego Rivera’s murals glorify Mexico’s peoples and history. The large building of the Secretaría de Educación Pública (education ministry) holds the most extensive collection of his murals in Mexico City. (Other famous murals can be found in the Palacio Nacional, the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo Mural Diego Rivera.) The education ministry is often not on lists of major sights in Mexico City, but is definitely not to be missed.

On the first floor, Rivera glorifies the laboring class, including potters, weavers, and sugar cane workers and portrays traditional markets and festivities. Political themes, such as the excesses of capitalism and the agrarian revolution, dominate the third floor’s striking murals. The second floor is somewhat of a letdown. In grey tones (grisallo) the murals by Rivera and students show representations of the sciences, engineering, medicine, and the arts, and depict the coats of arms of the Mexican states. The murals cover the long walls and staircases around two courtyards. Notably, Rivera weaves “dichos” or sayings (“those who want to eat should work”) above many of his murals. The building is open weekdays and is free to the public.


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Comments 3

  1. Thanks so much for your description of these remarkable Rivera murals. My wife and I are in Mexico City now and are returning to see the murals after at least 15 years. When we were here earlier we had a guided tour in English by an Education Department employee. Can you tell me how to arrange this again? Thanks.

  2. This was a highlight for me. The murals, and their stories of political and cultural struggles, are magnificent, as is the architecture. The murals are still so vibrant, even after 80 years.

    One of the other great things is that these murals as works of art co-exist with an active Education Department administration. So as you wander the courtyard level following the storylines of cultural battles, there is a gap …. a door …. an office with a couple of people working on a new syllabus or whatever ….. and another step on, back to another huge mural depicting a great drought or whatever …..

    A fascinating mixture of old and new, where current usages honour and respect past treasures.

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