Zapata (1930) by Jose Clemente Orozco

Zapata - Jose Clemente Orozco - 1930

Artwork Information

ArtistJose Clemente Orozco
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions178.4 x 122.6 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US
Location Created United States

About Zapata

The artwork titled “Zapata,” created by the artist Jose Clemente Orozco in 1930, is an oil on canvas exemplifying the Expressionist movement. The piece spans 178.4 by 122.6 cm and classifies as a symbolic painting. Currently housed in the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, United States, the artwork was also crafted within the United States and embodies the charged atmosphere and ideals of its time.

The artwork captures the intensity and turbulence characteristic of Orozco’s style. Central to the composition stands a stately figure, presumably Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, easily identifiable by his iconic wide-brimmed sombrero and the suggestion of a bandolier across his chest. His imposing posture towers over the scene, his gaze obscure, yet poignant, as he embodies the soul of the Mexican peasantry and their struggles.

Below him, the chaotic intertwining of human figures and limbs conveys a sense of movement and emotion. The expressive brushwork and the stark contrast of the colors enhance the dramatic effect, with somber hues dominating the palette, punctuated by the bright whites of the peasant’s clothing and the subtle hints of red symbolizing the passion and blood of the revolution. The artwork communicates a powerful message about leadership, sacrifice, and the human condition, reflecting the social and political unrest from which it was born.

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