On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries
Widely known by the 1930s as a muralist and political activist, Diego Rivera often undertook subjects rooted in indigenous Mexican traditions and folklore. This painting of bizarre tree forms set against a rocky hillside takes its name from the Spanish word for copal (copalli, in the indigenous Aztec language of Nahuatl), the aromatic tree resin employed for centuries in Mesoamerica as incense. Copal was considered the “blood” of trees, and thereby suitable as food for the gods in the form of incense. The substance had artistic significance as well, as a binder for pigments employed in ancient mural painting.
Oil on canvas
36 x 48 1/16 in. (91.5 x 122cm)
frame: 44 1/8 x 56 3/16 x 3 in. (112.1 x 142.7 x 7.6 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower left: "Diego Rivera 1937"
A. Augustus Healy Fund
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Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957). Copalli, 1937. Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 1/16 in. (91.5 x 122cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 38.36. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 38.36_SL1.jpg)
overall, 38.36_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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