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Table of Contents
Answer to Quiz #29- October 1, 2005

Easy: What is the name of this mural? Who was the artist who painted it?
Medium: Where is the mural located?
Hard:  Where is the artist's self-portrait in the mural?
The Digital Detective
The Digital Detective
Where, Who.....?
A Case Study in Digital Detective Work
The Database Detective
The Database Detective
The Ulmer Family
A Case Study in Database Detective Work
The DNA Detective
The DNA Detective
Top: Full mural.  Bottom: Center section.
Photos courtesy of Robert McKenna.
Click on thumbnail to see larger image.

: Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (1947-48)
(A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park)
Artist:  Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957)

 Museo Mural Diego Rivera, Mexico City

The artist pictured himself as a boy,
hand in hand with a female skeleton in grand Edwardian costume  
Bob McKenna who submitted this picture has an interesting story to tell about its

In the early 1960’s I was resident in Mexico City, working as the Construction Manager
on a large project for an American Company. At the time things were most congenial
with the Mexican Engineers and Architects. During a luncheon at the American Club a
difficult project was discussed. It had to do with the proposed move of the Diego
Rivera mural that was then located in the main dinning room of the Alameda Hotel. It
faced the Alameda Park, the theme of the mural. I imagine that the idea at the time
was to be able to look out over the park and the mural at the same time. Unfortunately,
three large building columns hid the beauty of the mural. (See attachment) Very few
people were able to truly appreciate the mural in that location.
I proposed a design concept for the move of the mural. No local engineers were eager
to design the move. Any damage to this “National Treasure” would have destroyed
their future. There was also the possibility of jail time. My concept was to encase the
mural with two steel trusses, one on either side, to transfer the weight of the structure
on to wheeled dollies, one on each end of the truss structure.
Fortunately the mural was moved without any damage. The move was extremely
difficult but the local steel fabricator did an extraordinary  job.
Although I was compensated for my design concept, my real satisfaction is in knowing
that millions of people will properly enjoy this priceless piece of art.
Mural in its original location in the main dining room of the Alameda Hotel, Mexico City.
Thank you Bob for submitting such a fascinating piece of personal history!
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-l957), muralist painter, was one of the greatest artists in the
XXth century. Born in Guanajuato Mexico, in 1892 he moved to Mexico City with his
family. In 1896, at the age of 10, he enrolled in the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes
(the old Academia de San Carlos). His teachers included well-known artists José María
Velasco, Santiago Rebull and Félix Parra. He also studied in the carving workshop of
artist José Guadalupe Posada, whose influence was decisive.
Diego pays tribute to the importance of Posada to his
artmaking by including him in the center of his mural
“Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park” (1947-
48) standing next to the “Catrina”, the skeleton society
woman of turn of the century Mexico City.

In his easel paintings and mural studies, Diego Rivera
honors and glorifies the traditions and customs of Mexico.
His great contribution is having placed Mexican art in a
position above that of European art, becoming one of the
most important vanguard esthetic propositions of the 20th
century. As a whole, his art represents indigenous and
working class worlds, intended to show and leave the
mark of a utopia in Mexican history.
For more on Diego Rivera's life, please see: and
A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park
The mural A Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park is a fresco painted by the
Mexican Social Realist artist Diego Rivera, famous for his revolutionary style (large
simplified figures and bold colors) and beliefs. His collaborators included: Rina Lazo,
Pedro Peñaloza and Andrés Sanchez Flores.
The mural originally was created and housed in the Alameda Hotel in the foyer at
Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy but had to be rescued after an earthquake destroyed
the hotel in 1985.  The mural is now displayed at the Museo Mural Diego Rivera on the
outskirts of Alameda Park in Mexico City. The Museo was founded in 1975 in the
house where Diego was born.
Rivera's self portrait lies at the near center of this large mural, where he is depicted as a
happy young man about ten years old. He stands to the right of and holds hands with
the Calavera Catrina (Death Beau) which is styled after the Calaveras of José Guadalupe
Posada, a famous artist known for his calaveras and who stands to the Calaveras' left
as a tribute to Posada. Between the Calaveras Catrina and Rivera is Mexican artist
Kahlo, Rivera's third wife and partner with her hand resting on Rivera's right shoulder.
She carries the Ying/Yang symbol in her right hand
symbolising balance. To their right are Rivera's daughters Ruth and Gaudalupe and
Rivera's grandson Juan Pablo.
The fresco is in three parts: a past, a present and a future or near future,depicting all
manner of political, entertainment and social past and contemporary personnages, both
good and bad. Included are General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, an "el presidente"
symbolising a modern Mexico, Pancho Villa (rebel general and revolutionary), Alfredo
Juarez (another revolutionary) and many others. Also depicted are farmworkers and
other workers to the right (seen in a revolutionary movement
in 1910), post-revolutionary peasants/workers, and artists. All are freely and happily
enjoying the park. During the early history of the park only the aristocracy were
allowed to enjoy Alameda and barfooted peasants were not allowed to enter the park.
As with much of Rivera's life and works, this mural had a bit of controversy
attached.The mural was kept covered after its completion because Rivera had included
the slogan 'God Does Not Exist'. It was only years later in 1956, a year before his
death, that Rivera painted over this text with, "Conference in the Academy of Letrán,
year 1836". He thus announced his reconciliation with the Church though the
reconciliation somehow did not involve another breach with the Communist Party. With
the opposing forces in his life, and in Mexican culture, now neatly in balance, Rivera
died in November 1957.
Diego Rivera Murals at the Ford Motor Company, Detroit, MI

The Detroit Industry fresco cycle in Rivera Court is the finest example of Mexican
muralist work in the United States; Rivera considered it the most successful work of
his career. In 1932 when Rivera was well known in the United States as one of the
leaders of the Mexican muralist movement, he was commissioned by Edsel Ford,
president of the Arts Commission as well as of Ford Motor Company, and Dr. William
Valentiner, director of the DIA, to create two murals for the museum in its Garden

The north and south walls are devoted to three sets of images: the representation of the
races that shape North American culture and make up its work force, the automobile
industry, and the other industries of Detroit (medical, pharmaceutical, and chemical). At
the bottom of the walls are small panels which depict the sequence of a day in the life
of the workers at the Ford River Rouge plant. The central panel of the north wall
represents important operations in the production and manufacture of the engine and
transmission of the 1932 Ford V8. The major panel of the south wall is devoted to the
production of the automobile’s exterior.
For images of other Diego Rivera murals, see:

For more on Diego's wife Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) see
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Mary Fraser        Lynne Darrouzet
Linda Dean           Mary Grindol      
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Answer to Quiz #29