About Jose Clemente Orozco
Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter and caricaturist who channeled his talent in creating political murals. His work, together with that of David Alfaro, Diego Rivera, and others led to the founding of the Mexican Murals Renaissance. The Great Mexican Revolutionary Law and the Freedom of Slaves, one of his most popular works, is an in-depth mural painting that highlights the revolutionists who sparked change in Mexico, amid slavery, bad politics, and poverty.
The Great Mexican Revolutionary Law And The Freedom Of Slaves: Jose Clemente’s Painting Style
There are four major figures who took part in the renowned Mexican Revolution. But looking at the artistic feature of this painting, this is probably the best of Orozco’s work since he started painting. It’s intriguing in a startling way, clearly passing out the message regarding the state of affairs in Mexico and the freedom of slaves.
The color palette used in this artwork bears some close resemblance to paintings with the old European style. However, it’s a mixture of beauty that brings out some clear strokes of his brushes. The brush strokes are solid, with the structure of the slave victims taking a blood-like color. Besides that, the “REFORMA” booklet has a red color with some whitish arrows. Let’s take a look at the four main subjects and where they are placed in this mural.
1. Miguel Hidalgo is a priest who covers the largest part of this painting. He has a black coat, white shirt, and a stole or vestment around his neck. Hidalgo is a white old man with the brush strokes subtly covering his bald head that has a medium-length white hair stroked backward from the sides. Besides that, he is holding what seems to be a pen on a piece of paper written “LIBERTA” in red. On the sides are the hands of the poor people of Mexico who are scrambling for this piece of paper, one even pointing to it with a machete.
2. Venustiano Carranza is a revolutionist whose image on the foreground is located on the extreme left but close to the REFORMA. The bespectacled old man has a white beard and mustache in addition to a gray coat with a front pocket.
3. Benito Juarez, one of the prominent Mexican presidents, is on the right-hand side of the REFORMA, close to a military man. He has a pen pointing on the REFORMA, wearing a black coat and a tie that’s designed with the Mexican flag.
4. Jose Maria Morelos is a priest, standing on the right foreground of the painting. He has white hair, a coat, and a black vestment on top of his white shirt.
5. & 6. There is a “native man”, shirtless on the far right-hand side of the painting. He seems to be holding a machete. Other subjects include the three faceless slaves, one with the hands tied to a chain, another one with his face covered and his hands tied with a rope and the last one holding a machete
History of the Great Mexican Revolution Law and Freedom of Slaves indicates that Miguel Hidalgo was a renowned priest who fought against the Spanish. He inspired the poor Mexicans who lived in abject poverty to do the same.
The priest who was assigned to the Church of Dolores had deep concerns about the life of the poor Mexican population. He felt sorry regarding the conditions they were living in and was curious about creating a shift or change in mindset. Although Miguel Hidalgo had tried to encourage the poor Mexicans to grow different types of crops, the Spanish did discourage them. Miguel Hidalgo delivered the famous speech “Grito de Dolores” (the Cry of Dolores) in 1810.
In this Jose Clemente Orozco mural, Miguel Hidalgo is holding a piece of paper encrypted with the words “Libetard”. The “ghost-like” hands which are seen trying to scramble for the papers are actually the hand of the slaves. Until this time in Mexico freedom of slaves had not started. It’s worth noting Miguel Hidalgo was the first person to openly fight for the freedom of Mexicans who were living in poverty.
This is a veteran who perfectly understood the Mexican Law. Benito Juarez was a politician and a Mexican Lawyer by profession. He is said to come from Zapotec descendants, in the Oaxaca area. Benito’s reign as the president of Mexico ran for five terms.
He was a fighter who not only overthrew the 2nd Mexican Empire but he also resisted the occupation of the French in Mexico. He tried to modernize the country during his reign and restored the reputation of the Republic.
Born in December 1859 and died in May 1920, Venustiano Carranza was one of the prominent leaders who sparked the famous Mexican Revolution. He quickly rose into the hall of fame and ended up overthrowing the dictatorial regime of Huerta in 1914 and eventually becoming the president of Mexico.
He tried to draft a New Mexican Law and it was during his reign that the current Mexican constitution was drafted. However, Venustiano didn’t get to finish his term because near the end of it, he was assassinated. This was done at the command of the army generals who didn’t like his style of leadership as well as his insistence that his successor should be a civilian.
Joe Maria Morelos
Jose Maria was a Mexican and a Roman Catholic priest. However, his knowledge of religion didn’t stop him from becoming part of the revolution. He rose to be a revolutionist and a popular rebel leader who led his subjects in the Mexican War of Independence movement.
History indicates that the independence movement rose to the realms of leadership after Miguel Hidalgo was executed in 1811. However, his life was cut short in 1815. The Spanish colonial rulers captured and executed him for treason.
Jose Clemente’s Life at the End
Jose Clemente finished his last mural painting in the fall of 1949. He died in his sleep at the age of 65 as a result of heart failure. He was a revolutionist on his own, having highlighted different conditions of the struggling Mexicans.
Between the 60s and70s, Jose crafted several paintings that highlighted the needy human conditions. He was labeled a strong artist who knew how to tell the story of his people and according to him, painting simply persuaded his heart.
Painter: Jose Clemente Orozco
Date of art creation: 1949
Place of Creation: Guadalajara, Mexico
Art movement: Muralism
Genre of painting: Symbolic painting
Painting technique: Fresco
Location: Government Palace, Guadalajara, Mexico
Content: allegories-and-symbols, famous-people, revolutions, prisons-and-prisoners, Miguel-Hidalgo-y-Costilla