La Catrina and Jose Posada
BORN OF REVOLUTION
La Catrina as we know her originated with Jose Posada, considered the father of Mexican printmaking. Born in 1852, he apprenticed to a local printmaker and publisher when he was just 14. Moving to Mexico City in 1888, he soon became the chief artist for Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, publisher of illustrated broadsides, street gazettes, chapbooks and other popular forms of literature, including songbooks for the popular corridos. He became famous for calaveras (skulls or skeletons) images that he wielded as political and social satire, poking fun at every imaginable human folly. His influence on Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and other great artists of their generation was incalculable.
La Catrina isn't your typical revolutionary babe, but her appearance has everything to do with the Mexican Revolution. Posada's working life paralleled the reign of dictator Porfirio Díaz, whose accomplishments in modernizing and bringing financial stability to Mexico pale against his government's repression, corruption, extravagance and obsession with all things European. Concentration of fantastic wealth in the hands of the privileged few brewed discontent in the hearts of the suffering many, leading to the 1910 rebellion that toppled Diaz in 1911 and became the Mexican Revolution.
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