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Exploration and Expansion
Cortes and the Aztecs (by: Joshua LaViolette)

Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter and muralist born in Guanajuato City. Studied painting in Mexico before going to Europe in 1907. While in Europe he took up cubism and had exhibitions in Paris and Madrid in 1913; he then had a show in New York City in 1916. In 1921 he returned to Mexico, where he undertook government sponsored murals that reflected his communist politics in historical contexts.

1. Review the paints of Diego Rivera below.

2. Click the linked text below and read excerpt from Archibald MacLeish's poem "Conquistador". Archibald used the account of the Conquest, "True History of the Conquest of New Spain", by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who accompanied Cortes, to write his epic poem.


3. As you review "Conquistador" write down the images that come to mind. Why do you think that MacLeish originally gave this poem the title, "The Argument"? Keep in mind his form and intent.

4. Click the linked text below to examine the Aztec art work in the codices. Discuss the artistic conventions used by the Aztec artists to record their culture and history.

Aztec Codices

5. Once you have reviewed the art work by Diego Rivera, "Conquistador", and the Aztec Codices write three to four paragraphs that compare and contrast these three different art forms and your interpretation of their view points.

6. Select a style of art, either a poem, play, painting, codex, film, song, dance, etc. to represent your feeling and interpretation of the Spanish Conquest. Be prepared to present you work to you peers in class. Good Luck!