The painter Diego Rivera and the Xoloitzcuintles | Xolos Ramirez

Photographs, murals, watercolors, easel works and lithographs confirm Diego Rivera's inclination for the xoloitzcuintle. In several images we can see him proudly posing with one or two copies of these Mexican dogs.


Among the photos stands out the one that served as the cover of one of the first books on xoloitzcuintles: The xoloitzcuintle in the history of Mexico, edited by the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño in 1997, out of the lens of Guillermo Zamora. It shows the muralist with two xolos, one on each arm. The particularity of the image is in the necklaces of the dogs, made with green stone beads, possibly jade, which give it a distinctive touch. Or that one, taken from the archives of the Frida Kahlo Museum [1], where the teacher Rivera, sitting on the steps of the pyramid of the Blue House, sees the camera in peace, having a young xoloitzcuintle next to him.


However, the one that catches the attention is one, also of Guillermo Zamora, where the painter is dressed in the Andean way with hat and poncho, carrying in his arms a xoloitzcuintle.


There are other images of the muralist with xoloitzcuintles, such as those taken at the Casa Azul. In one we see him lying on a bench in the garden, posing for the photo with two dogs at his feet, of which one is xoloitzcuintle. In another he stands in front of one of the walls of the Coyoacán house, between two pieces of pre-Hispanic origin, while he gives a sweet look to the Xolo he has in his arms. Finally the photo where, already older and sitting on a chair, on one of his legs keeps a sitting xoloitzcuintle dog.


There are also those, with a smiling face, glasses and hat, with Anahuacalli as background, holding a white-topped xolo. Of this last place is a photograph - property of the artist - where two workers, of the now museum, hold four xoloitzcuintles. In the same way, he has a male xoloitzcuintle with spotted legs on his chest.

The dog xoloitzcuintle, within the work of Rivera, we find in some murals of the Ministry of Public Education, whose walls were opened to several artists through the mediation of José Vasconcelos, under the government of General Alvaro Obregon. Thus we find in the so-called Patio de Fiestas: La Lluvia and La Noche de los pobres, both dated in 1926. In the first of these is a boy kneeling, wearing a white shirt and blue overalls, eating a taco, closely watched by a small xoloitzcuintle. In the second mural, we have the xolo curled on the ground next to three members of a sleeping family.


That same year is El Agitador, painted at the Autonomous University of Chapingo. Here we have a dog with thin pilosity and hairy tail, on alert, before the assembly of peasants and workers.


Of 1932 is the lithograph El niño del taco, where a fragment of the mural La Lluvia is recreated, observing the child and the xoloitzcuintle, now as main characters of the work. The lithograph belongs to the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño Collection.


Already in the forties begins to work, in the National Palace, murals dedicated to pre-Hispanic cultures. Of this period they are the Market of Tlatelolco (1944-1945) and the culture purépecha or tarasca of Michoacán (1945). In the first mural they recreate the organization and variety of products that could be found in Tlatelolco - among them the xoloitzcuintles dogs -, thus we have a xoloitzcuintle that is offered as a merchandise. In the second mural, at the bottom on some stairs, there are three xolos in different positions: sitting, lying and curled.


Then we found the mural titled Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central (1947-1948), where a xoloitzcuintle faces a policeman who prevents a family of indigenous peasants from mingling with the rich citizens of the country.


It is possible that from a visit to one of the markets of rural Mexico came the watercolor called Mercado de Petates (1950), in which buyers and sellers of mats are seen being observed from the bottom right corner by a small xolo.

In 1950, Diego Rivera returned to the National Palace to finish his work dedicated to the cultures of prehispanic Mexico. Of this period they are: the Totonaca civilization (1950), the industries of the maguey and the amate (1951) and the disembarkation of the Spaniards in Veracruz (1951). In the first of the three murals mentioned above, we see a xoloitzcuintle in the foreground, accompanying a character dressed in the Teotihuacan way that seems to lead or direct a contingent. In the second there are a couple of xolos who drink water in a gentle way in a stream where the textiles are washed. In the third is represented a fierce and small xoloitzcuintle that faces a dog arrived with the Spanish conquerors.


Of 1955 it is a small oil entitled Child with rehilete where, in front of the infant that turns the toy, a plump xolo is represented that seems to look at him.


The last two works of Rivera dedicated to the xoloitzcuintle are related to Mrs. Dolores Olmedo, since they were made in two of its properties. The first is the mural called La casa del viento (1956) in Acapulco, Guerrero. In it you can appreciate the duality Quetzalcoatl - Xolotl in a multicolored composition of tiles, shells and stones. Quetzalcoatl is represented as a feathered serpent and Xolotl as a dark colored dog.


The second work, made for a mirror of water, is called The Mirror of the Star (1957), which used vitreous mosaic, marble and onyx. It is located in what was Quinta Ofelia, property of Maximino Ávila Camacho, which is then sold to Dolores Olmedo. Currently, it is El Batán Park, in Mexico City. It is the last work of the artist where you can see a probable xoloitzcuintle dog wearing a necklace.


Varied is the work of Diego Rivera where he represents the xoloitzcuintle and makes it, with the passage of time, a symbol of national culture.

Criadero de perros mexicanos Xoloitzcuintles en México "Xolos Ramirez"

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