(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

While there is no foreword to Diego Rivera to identify the author’s aims in writing the book, there is an afterword at the end of chapter 9 in which Cockcroft identifies Rivera as a man who “left behind not only a wealth of painting but the very idea of people’s art, inspiring others to paint with a social conscience.” In addition, the introduction to the book makes it clear that the series editors saw Rivera as a Hispanic of achievement who influenced American and world art profoundly but who is not as well known as he should be. Cockcroft seeks to correct this situation by exploring Rivera’s life thoroughly, defining the man, his belief system, and his art. A portrait of Rivera emerges that depicts a great artist, an individual with strong ideals, and a free spirit.

Throughout Rivera’s life, he was acknowledged as a pioneer in the painting of modern mural art, and his work is found all over Mexico and the United States, as well as in Europe. Nevertheless, he has always been a vague and controversial figure to the general public. To most, he is seen as a man having little reverence for religion and as an outspoken communist. Cockcroft is successful in defusing this feeling somewhat by depicting Rivera as a sociopolitical idealist who sought to celebrate the affairs of common people with dignity. Despite his communist sympathies, Rivera seemed to portray that sociopolitical system as one desirable way by which such individuals may...

(The entire section is 529 words.)