Bowers’ Latest Lecture Series Focuses on “Los Tres Grandes” Mexican Muralists

Diego Rivera Watercolors
Courtesy Bowers Museum Facebook
Courtesy Bowers Museum Facebook
Courtesy Bowers Museum Facebook

by Meghan Kliewer

Bowers Museum’s current lecture series offers students an opportunity to learn about Los Tres Grandes of the Mexican muralist movement.

“The series aims to build a critical understanding of the specific visual language invented by Los Tres Grandes,” said guest lecturer Valerie Taylor. “Their artistic legacy remains a benchmark for public art of the 20th century.”

The six-part lecture series focuses on three Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siquieros, and José Clemente Orozco, as well as others who were part of the movement.

The series explores important icons and motifs of the artists, highlighting how they voiced their opinions and taught Mexico’s history through art.

It offers an opportunity for many Santa Ana residents to gain a new understanding of their culture.

Many muralists, including Rivera, were inspired by Pre-Columbian Colima ceramic dogs created in the image of the Mexican hairless dog, Xoloitzcuintli, some of which are part of the permanent collection at the museum.                                    

The dogs hold several symbolic meanings in murals, like the role of spiritual guides, a sense of cultural identity, or expressing a playful personality.

“The images, ideas and style of the Mexican mural movement inspired and continue to provoke the thinking and practice of current-day artists,” Taylor said.

The Mexican muralists aimed to create work everyone could relate to, even if they were illiterate, she added.Murals from Los Tres Grandes can be viewed on walls of buildings in Pomona, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco.

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A current exhibit at the museum, Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera, features the work of one of the iconic muralists and shows the origin myth of Quiché-Maya people.

This exhibit marks the debut of these paintings in the U.S. and will remain at the Bowers until the end of May.

“We encourage the college community in Santa Ana to use the museum as a resource, as well as to find a cultural and historical connection with the art and artifacts created locally,” said Victor Payan, the museum’s Latino audience engagement specialist.

The lecture series continues weekly until March 2. Dates and times are available on the Bowers Museum website,

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