His tempestuous affair and marriages with fellow artist Frida Kahlo, scandalous lifestyle and controversial communist politics are all reflected in many of his paintings.
They were also immortalized in Selma Hayek’s terrific movie project “Frida” (in which Hayek also starred).
We’re talking about Diego Rivera.
Rivera is also celebrated and revered in his homeland as one of Mexico’s foremost 20th century artists – perhaps the best-known member of its trio of great muralists.
Quick art history quiz:
Who are the other two great Mexican muralists?
- Jose Clemente Orozco
- Diego Alfaro Siqueros
Diego Rivera Museum, Guanajuato
Rivera was born in Guanajuato, one of Mexico’s most charming colonial towns.
There are several excellent museums in Guanajuato. Perhaps the most famous is the macabre Mummy Museum, displaying over 100 mummies.
The home where Rivera was born is also open to the public as a museum.
And if you’re an art lover, visiting the museum is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato.
In typical style, the tall narrow house has a central courtyard and fountain.
Its first floor rooms feature furnishings of that era, including the brass bed Rivera was born in.
Art on display at the Diego Rivera House Museum
Over 175 original water colors, sketches of his murals and oil paintings are on display on the upper floors.
There’s even a black-and-white nude sketch of Rivera’s lover and wife, Frida.
They represent various stages of his artistic life, including his Cubism training.
A collection of imaginative works by contemporary Mexican artists, found in a new glass and stone building connected to Rivera’s birth home, is an additional treat.
(We were unable to take photos of Rivera’s art works, but we could snap photos of other artists’ pieces.)
Coffee after… and a singing cowboy!
After we visited the Diego Rivera Museum, we stopped at an outdoor café by the ornate Juarez Theater (Teatro Juarez) – another must-see site in Guanajuato.
As we sipped our drinks – limonade for Janice (made from fresh-squeezed lemon juice and soda water) and cappuccino for George – we were serenaded by an senior singing cowboy strumming his guitar.
For a tip of course…
Museo Casa Diego Rivera
Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Positos 47, Zona Centro, 36000 Guanajuato
See the museum website (in Spanish)
Where to stay in Guanajuato?
We loved the old-world elegance at Quinta Las Acacias (see our review).
Get the Mexico art books
See these books on Mexico art, muralism and Diego Rivera, available on Amazon. (Just so you know, as an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases).
Experience more of Mexico!
Cozumel | Which is better? Cozumel vs Cancun? (Hint: If you’re an avid scuba diver, pick Cozumel.)
Zihuatanejo | For a great beach vacay, see the best beaches in Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa.
Mexico City | Spending three days in Mexico City? You’ll want to see this helpful itinerary covering the best museums, attractions and restaurants in the fabulous capital.
Our top travel tips and resources
Here are our favorite travel resources:
Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out GetYourGuide and Viator.
Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more.
Vaccines and meds: We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.
Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)
Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.
Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!
Save this for later on Pinterest!
Photo credits: © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except #1 by David Ludwig)
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Thursday 19th of June 2014
Wow! Your photos are great and you've really captured the feeling of being there. I am sad now that I didn't make it to this museum when I was so close.
Saturday 7th of June 2014
Oh wow I love this kind of stuff, if I find a contemporary art gallery in a city I'm there! :-)
Friday 23rd of May 2014
I'm a huge art freak so I would definitely go there. I used to paint myself when I was 18 so some of these pictures bring back great memories from my art class.
Wednesday 7th of May 2014
What an interesting character Diego was. Looks like a great museum. Your photos are fabulous!
Tuesday 6th of May 2014
I've been wanting to visit Guanajuato for some time now, thanks for giving me yet another reason to go. Visiting art galleries is a big part of the travel experience for me.