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Diego Rivera

American Art

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.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1937
DIMENSIONS 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)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "Diego Rivera 1937"
CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION 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)
IMAGE overall, 38.36_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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