Alberto Beltrán (1923 - 2002)

Composición (1974)

Woodcut on paper
height: 20cm
width: 20cm

Donated by the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex 2001


As the title suggests, this print is indeed a composition of signs and symbols, not only the Revolution, but also of Mexico itself. The main elements of this woodcut composition are the rifles with bayonets used during the Mexican Revolution. Depictions of revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa often show them and their men with similar weapons. To the left is a maguey plant from which the sap is extracted and fermented to make pulque, an alcoholic drink. In the top right corner of the print, a horse-drawn cart pulls French soldiers and English gentleman. Two elegantly dressed women stand and gaze towards the carriage. This is probably a reference to the invasion of French, British and Spanish soldiers in 1861. Behind the upright rifles is a printing press. Newspapers are strewn throughout the composition. Freedom of speech and of the press was one of many aims of the Mexican Revolution. Bayonets pierce through several sheets of paper alluding to the violence of war and the need to overturn the policies of Dictator Porfirio Díaz.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

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