Jose Clemente Orozco
In the early part of the 20th century, Mexican art underwent a dramatic transformation, reflective of the political upheavals taking place throughout the world. One of the most famous Mexican muralists was Jose Clemente Orozco, an artist who specialized in political pieces. Standing alongside Diego Rivera during this period of Mexican artistic history, Orozco focused more on machinery and its impact on the human condition, particularly the element of human suffering. He was also far more symbolic in his presentation, adding a level of depth and complexity to his work that allows it to stand alone in its impact.
Some of his earliest works were inspired by the suffering he saw in his own community. Inspired by the slums of Mexico City, “House of Tears” was a series of watercolor paintings about the experiences of prostitutes. While not a mural, this work reflected the ideological motivations that would later come to dominate his art. One of his most famous works, “The Trench,” created in 1926, depicts three soldiers in various positions of suffering during what is likely the Mexican Revolution. His piece shows great drama and intensity, reflecting his personal feelings on the use of violence in the revolution. “The Table of Universal Brotherhood,” created in 1931, was inspired by the great social turmoil that existed throughout the world with regards to varying political, religious, and racial differences. In this image, people of all different nationalities and walks of life sit together at one table, demonstrating a sense of unity that Orozco hopes can exist.