This past week we had the opportunity to visit and view a mural depicting, the history of Morelos, the conquest, and the revolution, portrayed by Diego Rivera. Diego Rivera was a famous painter throughout the world who established his name by painting murals in places such as: Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. The particular mural that we saw at the Palacio de Cortes (Cortes´Palace) in downtown Cuernavaca was based off of the battle between the Aztecs and the Spanish. We spent about an hour analyzing the mural, which wrapped around an entire upper room of the museum.
The mural painted by Rivera showed the absolute control that Hernan Cortes (a Spanish conqueror of Mexico) took over the Aztecs and indigenous people. Rivera´s depiction of Cortes throughout the mural was of someone who stood above the rest. He was illustrated standing above indigenous Aztec people who were being tortured in very inhumane ways, such as the pulling or stretching of the body or the scalping of the heads.
Also portrayed was Cortes’ infamous translator, advisor, and mistress La Malinche, who was an important indigenous woman, caught between the two worlds. There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the relationship between these two, and for some she has become the symbol of betrayal in Mexico. Hernan Cortes´ and La Malinche’s son was considered the first-born “Mestizo”. Mestizos are people that share both European and Indigenous Mexican ancestors.