Sunday, December 4, 2016

Diego Rivera monostich (resartus)

Two    great             elongated  ellipses

crosseEd AC otHher

in the center of the wall

[--Bertram Wolfe,  A Life in Two Centuries (1981), p. 600.
Describing the mural “Man at the Crossroads”, painted 1934 in the foyer of the RCA building, then destroyed by order of Nelson Rockefeller.]

Note:  Rocky is invariably cast as the bad-guy here;  but as with most of the leftie causes-célèbres of the period (Sacco & Vanzetti; the Rosenbergs; Alger Hiss), their perspective is blinkered.   Wolfe himself -- Rivera’s primary supporter and biographer -- gently admonished the Mexican painter, who had been content to take Rockefeller gold, then was indignant when his patron objected at Rivera’s sneaking in Lenin at the last minute, as the centerpiece of the whole mural, at the intersection of those two ellipses.  “Have I not the right, as painters have always done, to paint into my mural  people I know?  To use any model which seems suitable?”
Wolfe observed:  “Yes, Diego, but the great painters of the Renaissance painted either the patron or somebody related to him… Do you think that if Pope Alexander VI or Lorenzo di Medici had commissioned a painting, he would expect the central figure to be Girolamo Savonarola?”

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