A legendary figure of Mexican muralism, Diego Rivera was many things: a friend of Picasso, an unrepentant womanizer and insatiable lover, a fervent Communist, soon thrown out of the Party, and a self-styled revolutionary artist. In the retelling of some of the salient episodes of his life, collected and written down by the journalist Gladys March, he is also shown to be a narrator incapable of restraining his exuberant imagination. His prose, as with his painting, reveals an overwhelming passion for life and a multi-faceted humanity: he talks of prostitutes and revolutionaries, corrupt politicians and capitalist patrons of the arts, but above all the people of his own country, for whom he always felt a deep love.
After his early attempts as a Cubist painter in Europe, Rivera’s return home was a revelation. Mexico with its blazing colours and intense light, joyful crowds at the market and at fiestas, appeared to him to be a source of irrepressible splendour, and one which he would tap when he portrayed on the enormous walls of Mexican public buildings the political conscience of a nation. He painted scenes of enslavement, social struggle and images of pre-Colombian culture, giving shape to the features of a muralism that would go on to become an international painting movement. The self-portrait that unfurls before our eyes gradually takes on the guise of an open-hearted confession, in which the author takes no prisoners, least of all himself. His version of events finds a countermelody in the voices of the women in his life -- Angelina Beloff, Lupe Marín, Frida Kahlo, who he married twice, and Emma Hurtado (in appendix). On reaching the last page readers can only ask themselves where the truth about this artist lies, an artist who was in the first place an extraordinary storyteller or, in the words of Élie Faure, a mythmaker, or maybe even a mythomaniac.