Jose Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican printmaker and lithographer, is best known for his political and socially-engaged art. One of his most iconic works is La Calavera Catrina, a zinc etching that satirizes high-society European obsessions. The piece was created around 1910-1913 during Diaz’s regime which led to the Mexican Revolution of 1911.
La Calavera Catrina depicts a female skeleton, dressed only in a European-style hat, symbolizing the intersectionality of class, race and privilege. The artwork has become synonymous with the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico because it personifies death in its design. This iconic image inspired various other artists who used skulls, calaveras and bones to create political and cultural critiques.
Notably, Diego Rivera paid an homage to La Calavera Catrina by replicating Posada’s artwork on his Hotel del Prado mural in 1947 where he portrayed Posada under full-length figure of Catrina. Since then it has gained status as quintessential modern art iconography where people through sculpture have made representations out from different materials over time ensuring its message is carried on into contemporary art spaces today.