The Virtual Diego Rivera Web Museum chronicles the life and work of the Mexican muralist painter. As stated in the introduction "Diego Rivera with the use of classicist, simplified and colorful painting recovered the pre-Colombian past catching the most significant moments in Mexican history: the earth, the farmer, the laborer, the customs and popular characters." This well designed site is a tribute to Rivera's legacy to modern Mexican art. As students and teachers delve into this material they will discover the style and passions of the artist and his commitment to social awareness.
The user can browse through the virtual gallery, view his murals, read his biography, view video footage and locate 12 major links to museums and galleries holding Rivera's artistic works.
Type of Material:
To provide for content-based learning via the medium of art in developing the four skills and culture.
The current version QuickTime is required to view the videos. The QuickTime VR Plug-in is required to view the QTVR movies. Download links are provided.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The user will learn about Mexican history and culture through the study of art.
Target Student Population:
Middle School, High School, College, Graduate School, Professional
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The biographical page and links to other sites in Spanish require a reading proficiency of Intermediate or higher.
The site is divided into eight major sections. A gallery includes 32 individual paintings and eight mural images that span Rivera?s entire painting career. The mural section depicts most of Rivera's works located in eleven different locations in Mexico and the United States. Some of these murals portray Rivera's controversial political leanings. The biography page includes a bilingual Spanish/English chronology of Rivera?s life up to his death in 1957.
The banner and design of the main page is repeated with stylistic variations throughout the site. The banner with images of Rivera and tennis champion Helen Wills immediately peaks one's curiosity to know more about the artist and his life. The homepage includes a brief biography of Rivera in English and necessary technical information about QuickTime. There is also link to an impressive list of site awards and a link that requests donations to support web hosting for the site. If you go to "Today's Poster recommendation" at the museum store you are taken to AllPosters.com for posters and amazon.com for books.
The magazine section includes three publications of the bilingual magazine "Mexican Folk Ways." The Revista Mexican Folk-Ways page is in Spanish and English and includes selections from famous Mexicans from 1928-1930. Diego Rivera was the art editor for this magazine dedicated to Mexican customs.
Video footage includes a variety of scenes spanning different periods in Rivera?s life. The Film page includes six QuickTime movies of Footage taken from the video "Diego Rivera - I paint what I see." One is a silent video of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo at home. The others are in English. In these films Rivera talks about the themes that dominate his paintings and murals: the richness of Mexico's history,
the vibrancy of the mestizo culture, and both the repression and spirit of the working classes.
The Virtual Tour features three QTVR movies at the Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City that pay homage to Diego Rivera on the Day of the Dead. With the mouse a user clicks on the movie, holds down the mouse and slowly moves the cursor to get a 360 degree view of the room. One video clip portrays the controversial aspect of his paintings and the artist?s defense for painting what he saw.
The links page includes eleven major galleries and museums that hold Rivera's works. The link to the "Museo Casa de Frida Kahlo",also known as "La Casa Azul", includes insight into the life of Rivera's wife, artist Frida Kahlo.The Links page also includes several other collections of Rivera's work including the Museo Dolores Olmedo Pati?o, the largest private collection of Rivera's work, and a site on the Arts and History of Mexico.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The Virtual Diego Rivera Web Museum is a good resource that includes a well-organized and interesting selection of Rivera's work. The links are arguably the best sources for classroom application. On the Links page, the Diego Rivera Mural Project from the City College of San Francisco is a stunningly beautiful and comprehensive resource for the Pan American Unity mural at the college. On this site a complete analysis of the mural is enhanced by historical, thematic, biographical, and artistic information. There is a Spanish site and a separate English version. On the English version there is a link to Educational Material. The Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans site provides access to a diverse range of course plans using aspects of the Pan American Unity mural. There is also a form to submit lesson plans
The Yale University link includes a curriculum unit by Norwood on mural art and reading bi
ographies. The site includes several excellent links related to Rivera murals and paintings. One that has a potential use in the classroom is the link to the murals painted by Rivera for the Secretaria de Educacion Publica. The images and the simple written descriptions help to demonstrate excellent writing samples of descriptions, e.g. ?La maestra rural, Fiesta en la Calle (Dia de los muertos.), or to study elements of culture, holiday traditions, e.g., Dia de los muertos.
Another important link is to the San Francisco Museum Gallery. This site can be read in either Spanish or English. The value of this site lies in presenting Rivera?s own analysis and perception of his art. Also, Rivera gives detailed descriptions with rich and extraordinary detail about his mural. This content can be studied and modeled for using detailed descriptions of scenes in speaking or writing activities.
The Diego Rivera Web Museum is an online Museum. It is not a study module ready to use by students and teachers. It does not go into deep detail on Rivera, his personal life, and the political situation in Mexico, Mexican culture, or the controversies about his art. Considerable planning would be necessary to develop instructional units to take advantage of all the material on the site.
The Links page contains a Curriculum Unit for a 4th grade Social Studies class. However with the one exception of the Diego Rivera Mural Project from the City College of San Francisco, there are no study guides or suggestions about how to use the material for Spanish.
Although the site is not designed as a module for teaching, much can be done to develop learning activities around the excellent content. It will require much preparation on the part of an instructor who wishes to incorporate art into the teaching of Spanish in a content-based curriculum.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site has already been recognized as an outstanding site, and has won over 29 site awards. It is easy to navigate and students should have no problems exploring the site. The images load quickly and are of good quality. There are links if necessary to download needed plug-ins, e.g., Quicktime and Macromedia?s Flashplayer. A welcome feature is a link to the image rights use. It is evident that the author maintains the site constantly adding new images to the Gallery section, or adding additional video footage.
One reviewer found the light gray text on the homepage difficult to read. The rest of the site used a darker color. It would be a nice feature to be able to navigate from one painting or mural to another without having to close each individual window.
On the Links page there is a dead link to the ASU Art Museum.In spite of the good instructions for zooming in and out of the QTVR movie, one reviewer was unable to do so.
Other Issues and Comments:
The site has some commercial aspects, since books and posters are sold. However,
this does not distract from its educational value.
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